Why Me?

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Everything happens for a reason

Good health. Yoga woman relaxing by seaSometimes when we’re disappointed because we didn’t get an outcome we wanted, it’s hard to understand why it happened. It seems unfair that we try so hard to achieve our goals with little visible success. It’s especially hard if we did our very best. “Why me?” we ask. “Why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong?”

Nothing happens by accident

Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in this world by accident, even if in the moment we can’t make sense of the experiences. There are often two levels of reasoning. There is a logical, secular explanation, such as we weren’t prepared in the way we need to be or we could have made some different choices. But there is also a spiritual, metaphysical accounting that suggests that whatever happens was for our highest and best good, regardless of outward appearances to the contrary.

The spiritual reasons could be we weren’t emotionally ready to go to the next level. We had more inner work to do, there were more important things to attend to before our dreams could be realized, it wasn’t the right time, or had we realized our dream, we would have missed another opportunity that we needed to experience.

How do you know whether to let a dream go or keep at it?

And if you let go, how do you know when it’s time to try again? There is no one-size fits-all answer. There are many factors to be considered, including timing. If you’re at this crossroads take into account the following:

  • Are you consumed with making your dream happen?
  • How long have you worked to make it happen? How many attempts have you made?
  • How does your obsession with making it happen affect your loved ones? Sometimes the price we pay is worth it – and sometimes it’s not. Only you can decide.
  • What are the financial implications? Health implications? Are you using your last dime, your family’s savings, or your rent money? Are you getting sick? These are questions to consider.
  • Is it really your dream to make this happen? If so, sometimes it’s worth everything to keep the dream alive.
  • Does your life or livelihood depend on the success of this experience?
  • How do you know when you’re ready to resume the process? The answer varies. However, the amount of time since your last attempt, whether you’ve been able to acknowledge your mistakes, whether you’ve been able to indentify lessons learned, and whether you’ve been able to reach out for help are all factors to be weighed.

Today allow yourself to think through what would happen if you put your dream on hold temporarily. You may not think that you have the time or that you’ve already invested too much money to stop now. But perhaps if you continue as you are, more money and time will go to waste. Sometimes allowing time to come between you and the experience gives you a chance to regroup, reassess your strategy, and become spiritually and emotionally strong again.

Join my conversation on FacebookFacebook Esteemableacts Fan Page, or my Facebook Law Page, you can also interact with me on my Twitter Esteemable Acts page, Twitter Law Page, or on LinkedIn. Feel free to subscribe to my newsletter.

Mark Geragos. Snapchat. Inappropriate Material.

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APP. Mobile Messaging.

Phone. Snapchat. App.California based attorney Mark Geragos, who has represented high profile clients such as Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson, is now taking on Snapchat, a mobile messaging app launched in 2011, which allows users to share videos, photos, text and drawings.

Earlier this year, the app reached 10 billion daily video views. According to a May 2016 article in Forbes, Snapchat is valued at $18 to $20 billion.

Geragos filed suit on behalf of Lynette Young and her minor child and is seeking class-action status. The suit contends that Snapchat is exposing underage users to sexually explicit and inappropriate material and not giving sufficient warning to the users and their parents. Users must state that they are at least 13 years of age to sign up for the service.

Terms of Service.

Snapchat’s terms of service warns its users not to send sexually explicit messages, but the suit contends that the company is not doing enough. Discover, a feature of the app allows the sharing of material, including videos, from third-party sources such as MTV, BuzzFeed and Cosmopolitan magazine. The lawsuit contends that parents of minor users would object to much of the material if they were aware of its accessibility.

Geragos stated that about 25 people have contacted his office over the past year expressing their concern over their children’s exposure to crude images, sexual references and other topics, such as drugs and alcohol. “A lot of the sites have taken the affirmative approach of dealing with this, but Snapchat isn’t one of them,” said Geragos.

Lawsuit.

Through their spokesman, Snapchat said they have not yet been served with the lawsuit but regret that people are offended by some of the content. They also expressed support for the “independence” of their partners. Historically, the courts have ruled that internet companies are generally immune from lawsuits based on third party content posted on their sites and/or service, so this case can hold profound ramifications for all internet companies that allow third party content.

As of yet, no hearing date has been set for the case filed at the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

 

 

 

ATM Skimming. Money. Banking.

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A.T.M. Machines. Banking Scam.

ATM

ATM Skimming. Banking Scam.

On numerous occasions, I have written about the epidemic of scammers trying to rip off your money and identity. Unfortunately, these criminals never sleep and are always looking for new methods of perpetrating their crimes.

One of these methods is called A.T.M. “skimming,” and it is on the rise. Skimming is a way for crooks to steal your debit card information when you use an A.T.M. They then duplicate your debit card to make withdrawals from your bank accounts.

An April 2016 article in the NY Times points out that the crime of skimming has increased 600% from 2014 to 2015. This is according statistics from FICO Card Alert Services, an organization that monitors A.T.M. activity for banks.

Skimming.

Skimming entails placing an illegal card-reading device within the card slot of an A.T.M. This device then captures all banking information on the card. Hidden cameras placed on the A.T. M. then record your pin number. In absence of a camera, a person will stand close behind you and try to read your pin number. The crooks then make a phony duplicate card from this stolen information, and they are off to the bank.

When skimming first came to the attention of law enforcement and banks, it was concentrated in big cities on the east and west coast, but it has now spread throughout the country.  Almost daily, you can read in your local paper about the latest victims of skimming right in your neighborhood. And these crooks are heartless, they don’t care how much or little money you have. Their goal is to steal it from you and move on to the next victim.

So how do you know if the A.T.M. you are using is safe and not fixed with a skimming device and how do you protect yourself?

Security experts say to be aware when the slot you place your card into jiggles or feels lose. If you feel this, don’t go through with your transaction. Also, use one hand to shield the keypad as you are entering your pin number in case there is a camera or person watching. The pin number is vital for the thieves, so do everything you can to protect it. Of course, if you find money missing from your account, contact the bank and law enforcement immediately.

A.T.M. machines are very convenient and millions of people use them, and it’s a shame we have to worry about this now, but it’s the world we currently live in. Criminals don’t need to necessarily rob you at the point of a gun anymore; they simply need to find ways to exploit existing technology.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

Love Life. Live life quotes.

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I Ain’t Dead yet!

Live life.

Live life.

One of the good things about my life is that I have all kinds of friends and acquaintances. Some are moms.  Some are dads. Some are childfree. Some are retired. Some work. Some are gay. Some are straight. Some aren’t sure.  Some are dreamers. Some are not. Some like their life just like it is. Some do not. Some are willing to take risks and try new things. Some live in a self-created prison and allow their fear to stop them (even though they are afraid to admit that).

The friends I am most grateful for are those who believe that their life is continually evolving and are willing to stay in the game and discover the next chapter.  I especially love my girlfriends who are in their 60s, 70s, and even 80s who look amazing and who are active participants in their own lives.  If they are retired, they are still DOING things instead of waiting around to die. To them, retirement does not mean the end of life. In fact, for me at 63, I believe I have a lot of good, productive living left to do.  Why would I retire and drop out of life when there are so many more great places to visit, wonderful new people to meet, and fabulous new adventures to experience.

High heels, facials, and pedicures.

On top of it all, I’m still getting pedicures & facials, and wearing heels!

It’s kind of funny about the heels.  I still wear high heels and often women will ask me with great interest, “how can you wear those heels?” Then they proceed to tell me, “well you’re still young, so you can walk in them.”  I laugh, first because they think I am younger than I am, and often, they even think I am younger than they are.  I just take it in and laugh because my attitude is that I will continue to wear high heels until the moment I can’t.  I don’t wear mini-skirts, hot pants or dresses cut to my navel anymore, but I do love me some high heels!

So are you letting other people define you simply based on your age? If you are, you are doing yourself a great disservice and missing out on what can be a fun, productive, and yes, even an exciting life. Time doesn’t discriminate. Those who are 21 today will one day be 71 and 81, if they are lucky. Yes, our culture has become more biased in favor youth, but you don’t have to live in the box society places you in. You can live your life on your own terms.

As for myself, I ain’t dead yet, and I’ll live my life on my terms for as long as I can. Won’t you join me?  I’m Francine Ward living my life every second of the day. Facebook. Twitter. Google+. LinkedIn.

 

 

Contracts. Agreements.

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UNDERSTAND Those Agreements BEFORE Signing.

Agreements. Contracts.

Agreements. Contracts.

I can’t tell you how many times I have warned people about signing a contract without complete understanding of the terms. Unfortunately, people still make the same mistakes over and over by signing contracts that are not in their best interest. Often these mistakes can cost a person everything they worked for.

Here is just another unfortunate case that proves my point.

The Camellia Grill, a landmark New Orleans restaurant, popular with both locals and tourists for nearly 70 years was severely damaged by hurricane Katrina and remained closed for over a year, when owner Michael Shwartz decided to sell it in 2006. The sale was finalized with 3 separate contracts, one of which was the “bill of sale.”

READ Those Agreements BEFORE Signing.

The new owner, Hicham Khodr, also signed a contract for a licensing agreement regarding the use of the iconic Camellia Grill trademarks and logos. The contract agreed on a payment of $1 million, as well as ongoing royalties. This contract was contested, and eventually declared null and void by a Louisiana court. This ruling then led to a slew of other lawsuits between the two parties.

With the licensing and royalties contract terminated, the seller filed a lawsuit against the new owner claiming trademark infringement, since the restaurant continued using the original name, signage and logos. The new ownership contended that the use of the logos and trademarks was covered in the “bill of sale” contract.

When the smoke from the lawsuits finally cleared in July of 2015, the court ruled that the new ownership had complete rights to the name, trademarked logos and all materials specified in the bill of sale. The contract specified transfer of all “tangible personal property located within or upon” the Camellia Grill.

Michael Schwartz argued that intellectual property was not part of the “tangible personal property.” However, Judge Jane Triche Milazzo ruled that the language in the bill of sale was “clear and unambiguous.”

Obviously, Michael Schwartz and his attorneys did not cover all the bases in regards to the specific language of the bill of sale contract. They assumed that the licensing contract covered the trademarks, but when that contract was voided by the court, the bill of sale became the primary documentation of the terms.

When you sign a contract on the dotted line, you had better be absolutely sure that the terms are exactly as you want them, with all avenues and possibilities considered, especially when dealing with multiple contracts for the same deal.

Please don’t enter into a contract that can affect your livelihood and future without seeking the counsel of an experienced attorney who specializes in the field. Not all lawyers are created equal. Your real estate lawyer is ill-equipped to counsel you on intellectual property law issues, and truly not your criminal lawyer. One oversight on the contract can lead to devastating consequences.

Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Join my conversation on FacebookTwitter, or in one of my LinkedIn groupsGoogle+ Circles.

http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/2013/05/court_rules_camellia_grill_mus.html