From an interview in Edge Magazine (, Tom Hanks made this comment about his character of Forrest Gump:

“He lived at the speed of common sense. I think we’d all love to do that, but Forrest did it every day of his life.”

What happens when someone is told that there is no legal remedy to their problem? What about losing a court case and even worse, losing on appeal? So much effort gone into hoping that the problem can be resolved only to find, like in a disease, there is no cure. So what is the person left with? Grief.

Very recently I started working as a paralegal in a law office. As I walked through the waiting area, I noticed how clients had the same looks on their faces that I’ve seen in doctors and hospital waiting rooms. Sitting there, they are hoping that the person down the hall can provide them with a legal solution to their “sickness”. Usually, one goes to an attorney to resolve a problem that has greatly impacted them. Except for the drafting of contracts or Wills, most of these cases have upended a person’s life: Threats of eviction, contesting a Will, declaring a relative incompetent, or needing to sue someone for pain and suffering inflicted. Really not a happy place to be!

I’ve seen this personally with a neighbor who had her dog attacked and killed by another dog. She was devastated. She was angry. She didn’t just want money to replace the dog, she wanted something for her pain and suffering, for her loss. Her grief was deep, she had lost not just a pet but a comfort animal. I advised her to engage a lawyer and see what the law could do for her. Unfortunately, she discovered that all she could sue for was for the replacement value of the animal. And that would entail costly legal fees she couldn’t afford. Her grief now doubled because the closure she thought she could find had vaporized.

So what can be done to help a person who is now in this state of “legal grief”? If the person’s attorney is a caring individual, maybe a session talking with he/she could be a form of therapy. However, attorneys are not trained in that way of relating to clients. Should the person seek a therapist for help? Are there any therapists who could understand this unique form of grief and know how to work the person through it? Legal grief might have all the same stages as regular grief but how would a therapist relate to the retelling of all the legal convolutions that led to the grief? Standard concepts of grief usually cover loss of people, jobs, body parts, etc. Other types of losses are out of the realm to be considered as something to grieve. Recall how people used to be brushed aside when they talked about the grief of losing their physical home. Then came 9/11 and the Twin Towers fell and the whole world realized you can grieve for the loss of a building! Indeed, the book of grief has many different chapters.

If anyone reading this has experienced this kind of grief, or encountered a therapist who understands it, I’d appreciate a reply to this post.

Would you be able to give an acceptance speech using only 5 words? Every year, the ceremony for the Webby Awards – the online equivalent to Oscars and Grammys-has this quirky rule regarding acceptance speeches. Award winners can use only five words upon accepting their awards!

This limitation leads to some highly creative verbal concoctions about their companies. Here are a few well-crafted ones from the past:

Lonely Planet Guidebooks:  “Love your country.  Leave it.”

Home and Garden Television Online: “Where paint drying is inspirational.”

E*Trade Financial: “Pleasure in paying bills… almost.” “New Zealand: More Than Hobbits!”

All four of these take a conventional idea related to their subject and twist it around for impact.

They resemble tag lines, the subheads that follow a business name on mastheads, business cards, billboards and other ads, where space is at a premium. The tag line must grab the reader’s attention quickly and explain what’s distinctive about the business in a compressed, catchy way.

Give it a try the next time you need to brainstorm a message. If you can do it in 5 words and get a positive reaction from the reader, you’ve hit the mark! Now if only Grammy, Emmy, and Oscar award winners would follow suit.


This week’s blog entry comes from the NYTimes “Your Friday Briefing” newlsetter

Today, the word impeachment is associated with the most powerful public officials, but the Latin word it evolved from, “impedicare” (meaning “to fetter, to fix shackles on the feet; to hinder”), evokes a prisoner.

Old French turned it into empechier, from which sprang the Middle English empechen, meaning to physically hinder something (“an impeached ship”) as well as to bring a formal accusation.

Senator William Blount in 1797 became the first American politician to face impeachment, for plotting with the British.

The first recorded use of impeachment in the English Parliament occurred in 1376 with the removal of Baron William Latimer. Having created other levers of accountability, Parliament held its last impeachment in 1806 and now considers the procedure obsolete.

But the term had already been written into the U.S. Constitution. Benjamin Franklin pushed for its inclusion because he feared that the alternative to the legal removal of a corrupt official would be assassination.

Congress first held an impeachment in 1797 with the trial of William Blount, which was, until now, its only impeachment inquiry concerning foreign policy.

Lately we’ve been hearing a lot about a “whistle-blower” in the news. Ever wonder where the term comes from?

This week’s blog entry comes from the NYTimes “Your Friday Briefing” (9/27/19) a newsletter that I subscribe to:

The term “whistle-blower” owes its origin to a 19th-century English toolmaker named Joseph Hudson, the inventor of referee and police whistles.

The first whistle used in a soccer match was probably an early model made by Mr. Hudson in 1878, and he invented an even more piercing whistle for Scotland Yard in the early 1880s. Soon after, in both sports and on the streets, blowing a whistle became a signal that a situation needed urgent attention.

“Whistle-blowing” as a metaphor sporadically appeared in literature in the 20th century, including in works by P.G. Wodehouse and Raymond Chandler.

While whistle-blowers have existed in the U.S. from its founding, the term itself is relatively new to the political lexicon, appearing to enter the mainstream around 1970.

Soon, the consumer rights advocate Ralph Nader put a more positive spin on the term with the phrase “responsible whistle-blowing,” which eventually led to the passage of the U.S. Whistleblower Protection Act — a piece of legislation that’s playing a role in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

The Flame Inside Our Hearts


Flame consumes

Flame destroys

Flame burns the flesh.


You ran

Into the epicenter

Into the vortex of fire

Of hell on earth.


Fighting fire with the fire of your love

You ran towards the flame

Even though it might consume you.

You saved the innocent

As even you were not saved.


Flame explodes

Flame spreads

Flame smolders.


You worked the Pile

Inhaled the smoke

That rose like spirits into the sky

Seeking any that fire had not consumed.


Like fingers across time

The flame that once smoldered

Reaches out and engulfs you

Snuffing out your life.


Flame warms

Flame lights the way

A metaphor for love.

We remember you fallen by fire.

We remember you consumed by smoke.

We fight for you the living

Because of the flame of love burning in our hearts.

Long before Alexi, Siri, and Cortana, us geeks had a habit of naming our non-sentient devices. Individual mainframe computers connected together had to identify themselves to us humans, so system managers gave them names. In the early years it was cutesy, pop culture ones like Spock, Kirk, Dr. Who. When PCs hit the scene, we, of course, christened them too. I had Attila, a PC who ever day would assault me with error messages in an attempt to take over the digital galaxy. Then there was Excalibur, who helped me cut thought the tedium of grammar and spell checking. Some of my PCs names were a derivative of their brand names: La Nova was a Lenovo, Delilah is a Dell Latitude!

Once the habit of naming devices became part of my life, I felt compelled to name all non-computer ones as well. Jedra is my Jetta VW wagon, before her was Jeffrey, a Ford Focus named after the salesman who sold her to me. Of course my cell phone had to have name too: Turtle, because it wasn’t a fast Smart phone!

No I don’t name refrigerators or stoves, or TVs. Though I did name my digital camera “Casi” which is the brand name emblazoned on its cover. But I draw the line on watches and clocks. However, items I touch, that have some sort of “operating system” that gives it a form of intelligence and can carry out my commands, those get named.

Oh goodness, I just read about a refrigerator you can talk to and which will remind you when you run low on milk or lettuce. Now what should I name it? Maybe I’d call it “Iceberg”.