Ignore, then Scream

You can learn more from kids about human nature than you’ll ever learn from a legal battle or a mediator.  I’m going to show you how that works by discussing a concept called “ignore, then scream.”

My eldest child had an issue when our son came home from the hospital.  The first thing she wanted to do was ignore his presence.  Eventually she had to realize our son was a part of the family, and he wasn’t going to go away anytime soon.  This put a dilemma in her head.  She had to figure out a way to stop his vocalizations when he started talking, so she started screaming whenever our son decided to “find his voice.”

It was very clear what our daughter had in mind, on reflection.  She didn’t have the means to articulate how she felt about our son speaking so she took the tack of screaming to make him be quiet.  Our son decided to use that and start getting louder, ramping up every single time he wanted to antagonize her.  It was a destructive cycle, and we needed to break it.

One attempt was first pointing out the behavior and telling our daughter what she was doing.  “He’s just talking.  You can say “Hi Baby.” That wasn’t exactly effective.  I didn’t really understand why until something from the head Professional Opportunist, James Brown, had taught me during our first conversation.  Our meeting today reinforced this.

First, my daughter was not in a position to really understand why she thought my son “talking” was a bad thing, nor did she have a means of articulating this.  Our kids are growing continually and developing their language centers.  They don’t bust out of the gate speaking English in full.  This means when kids speak, the largest method of their communication comes from the non-verbal world.  Non-verbal communication requires not just a projection of that communication “message.”  You also have to look at how the child reacts, and watch for your response to their actions.

The best example I can give you here is to discuss how you handle the screaming.  Eventually the behavior became less about the screams and more about learning why we reacted in a negative fashion to the screams.  It was an attention seeking behavior, and it had to be treated as such if one would ever see this behavior resolved.  How you resolve that behavior would largely determine how the kids would view interactions from there.

If you treat the behavior as something that’s negative, you run the risk of getting negative attention from the child and watching your child develop a pattern of negative attention seeking behavior.  Simply yelling at the child or giving them a spanking won’t fix it.  The best method we found for dealing with the screaming was to trivialize it.  Make the behavior inconsequential and silly, and then the child will eventually shape that behavior pattern into the better realm of “This is a silly behavior that doesn’t get me what I want.  It’s probably better if I modify this to get the desired result.” Consequentially, you have to take the child and reward the good behaviors with abject praise.  That was how we conquered the “ignore, then scream.”

How does this apply to family law?  Simple.  When divorce litigants get started in the process, they apply the “ignore, then scream” approach to litigation.  They don’t want to think about their respective conflict, or the problems that conflict brings.  They want to make sure they get their voice heard the most.  At the most basic stage, when they have an inkling their voice may be silenced in a conflict, the first response will be a “scream.”  They will respond, and the response will be loud and harsh.  That isn’t going to benefit anyone who doesn’t recognize the response, so here are a few tips for the conflict resolution professional to help them get to a place where they can “squelch the scream.”

Recognize the “ignore, then scream.” 

You’re going to see this as soon as you apply the thought pattern to family law.  When you recognize it the best course of action is to say to yourself “I see this for what it is, I realize it’s an “ignore then scream” and I’m going to make a positive approach to dealing with this because I don’t want bad behavior from one of my clients who is attempting to negatively seek attention from me.” That approach will give you the ability to proceed forward from a place of confidence.

Trivialize the behavior with a certain level of caution. 

You don’t want your clients thinking you believe their approach to be silly, no matter how much you may see it to be that.  However, there’s ways to direct the conversation elsewhere so you can shape the behaviors in a method advantageous to you.  Try Jerry Interventions, or another similar pattern interrupt when you see the negative behaviors occur.  That will allow you to make the behavior seem “silly” without actually telling someone “You shouldn’t do that.  It’s kind of silly.”  Better to keep the business than reject it.

Add in a laugh.  

Spot a point where you can inject a little humor into the communication.  Usually people who are going through divorces or child custody battles are so focused on the “Ignore then scream” approach they can’t take a couple minutes to just focus on something positive.  If you give someone a positive focus to approach the scenario with “relaxed confidence,” you’ve taken hold of the dialogue and you’ve gotten a positive focus for your clients without ever revealing your hand.

There’s three tips to dealing with the “ignore, then scream” approach for your family law client.  All learned from child behavior.

I am, and I am not

I Am.

An attorney.

A mediator.

A conflict resolution professional.

A communication theory fan.

A theatrical pickpocket, hypnotist, and card cheat.

A writer.

A rogue with a love of reading about con men and the con game.

An affiliate partner for certain businesses.

Someone who strives to be honest, fair and plain in language with all people.

A father.

A husband.

A friend to a very small group of people.

An unapologetic Freemason.

I am not 

Your fucking therapist.

No seriously, I’m not.  Especially if you’re not paying me.  There’s only a minor amount of bullshit I’ll take from you if you’re paying me, and when you call me, email me, text me, whatever method you use, and attempt to take up the limited amount of time and energy I have I will probably not take it very kindly.  Don’t like it?  That’s your problem, not mine.

I’m putting this out there for everybody to know because it’s got to be ridiculously clear-cut.  I’ve spent enough time today dealing with OPFs (other people’s fuck ups), especially ones from people who owe me money and are unapologetic when they call and tell me they’re not honest enough to honor an agreement.  When I’m paying someone else for goods and services, I expect those services to actually work and for people to do their jobs.  It’s amazing how many people just don’t give a damn when performing their jobs.   Yes, it’s gotten me a little upset.  I’m not really sure why I used the word “upset,” because upset would mean I was even the slightest bit angry, and I’m really not.  There’s a reason for that.  I don’t like spending time, even a short amount, having to meditate and engage in self-hypnosis to get back to a default state of relaxed confidence.

Despite all of this, I get to know that I’m going to a meeting with some business investors tonight and make up for losing about two hours of my day to asshats.  That’s $800, thank you, and I’ll be taking the payment within fifteen days’ time.

And I’ll still keep writing, because I can do that.  Even on days when I have an absolute shitstorm brewing around me, I’m still standing.  I almost died once because I gave a damn about what other people thought. Now that I have restricted that field of “give a damn” I’m a lot better off.  We’ll talk about that soon enough.

In the meantime, know that when I get people who want to waste my time and energy to the point where I have to go “reboot” my brain with a healthy dose of positivity then I’m not exactly in the best of minds.  I’m probably going to do something to screw with you if you’re not someone I really care about.  I have the ability to switch off the “give a damn” mechanism in my head, because I invested in being the best I can possibly be for this environment.  I am the person people fear when they see me walk into a room, and the person some people love when they see me show up.

I took the Bar Exam with one eye.  I was hospitalized after a brush with death.  I’m still standing.  You cannot beat me.  You cannot put me down.  Every time someone struck me down, I always rise more powerful than they can imagine.  That’s how I work, because that’s what a Professional Opportunist does.  I had a meeting today with someone who took an NLP technique taught regularly in the states and then made it better within fifteen seconds.  That’s the calibre of person I work with.

Get on my level or get the fuck out of my way.

[/end rant]

Buy the book that teaches you the “Wrongless Approach” to life.

Laughs For Jasmine *UPDATE X4

I’m proud to announce “Laughs for Jasmine,” a fundraising drive co-sponsored by “That Midday Show,” a radio show on 103.9 FM in Knoxville,  and Mediation is Dead.  We’re raising money until the end of April for Jasmine Wade, a two year old girl with stage four brain cancer.

Jasmine’s story is rough.  She’s two and has brain cancer.  Both her parents have lost their jobs as they travel to Memphis and St. Jude’s hospital for Jasmine’s cancer treatments.  I’ve verified all this through Jasmine’s aunt and have taken the time to contact Jasmine’s parents.  I’ll be going to meet the family soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to ask those of you who have enjoyed “That Midday Show” in Knoxville for any reason to go to the Patreon for That Midday Show and even donate a dollar. Likewise, if you’ve enjoyed my work here at MiD or at Fault Lines, please just go donate even a buck.  Every bit will help, but we’re going to make this good for anyone who decides to donate, because this is a kid with brain cancer and their family can use the help.

If you donate $1, we will give you and your business/organization a shout out on the air.

If you donate $5, we will give you the $1 reward and we’ll discuss any topic you want on the show.  Bear in mind if you go this route we’re on broadcast radio and subject to FCC regulations, so keep it in the fairway.

If you donate $10, we’re going to give you the above rewards, plus we’re going to play any song we can for you as part of the show.  Even though it’s a comedy/talk show, we still play music.  Keep the FCC regulations in mind when you select this reward.

If you donate $20, you get all the above rewards plus you get to state your case, on air, to settle the debate over whether a hot dog is a sandwich.

If you donate $40, you get all of the above plus a special crafted video from Puppet Pro Wrestling Superstar Foam Cold Steve Allsewn.  Foam Cold will do shout outs, roasts, anything you want on his YouTube channel. Thanks to comedian Lance Adams for negotiating this with Foam Cold!  OH HELL YEAH!!!

Donate $100, and we’ll give you all the above plus a rare “That Midday Show” shirt in the size of your choice, signed by as many comedians and talents we’ve had on the show as possible.

We even have a special reward as of today’s broadcast.  If you donate $100 and specify by mentioning the hash tag #Laughs4Jasmine on Facebook or Twitter, you’ll be able to get comedian Jeff Danger to come perform at your birthday party.  This offer is one time only, first come, first serve.  Just twit @thatmiddayshow on Twitter with the hashtag #Laughs4Jasmine and tell us you want Jeff Danger when you pay your $100 and you’ll inject a little Danger into your next birthday party.

Another release, as listed in the updates.  As a “one time only” deal, if you donate $50 and specify by twitting @thatmiddayshow with the hashtag #Laughs4Jasmine you can receive a complete collection of author Michael David Anderson‘s works.

This post will be updated as I get more rewards from people.  But there’s nothing stopping you from helping Jasmine and her family in their time of need.  If you’d like to donate but don’t have the money to do that, you can do us a solid by sharing this post on Facebook or Twitter with the hash tag  #Laughs4Jasmine.  If you want to donate a special reward, email me and we will work it out.  This drive is running through April, and will end on April 30, 2016, when we will donate all the proceeds to Jasmine and her family.

We’re doing this because the saying “Laughter is the best medicine” has some merit.  Comedy can heal your soul when you’re really stressed or upset about an issue.  Right now the collective Scruffy City Comedy Community has the ability to do some real healing by giving to this cause, and we’re going to make it count.

Let’s all share some laughs for Jasmine Wade and her family.

UPDATE: We are in talks with The Longbranch Saloon for a benefit on April 26th for Jasmine Wade.  Details to follow.

UPDATE x2: If you’re going to the Einstein Simplified show at the Blue Slip Winery in Knoxville tonight (April 12), there’s going to be a tip jar out for Jasmine.  Show starts at 8:15.  If you’re not going, why not?

UPDATE x3: Added to the “one time only” donations category is a collection of works from author Michael David Anderson.  Donate $50 and you will receive signed copies of his books “Teddy” and “Wake,” copies of his poetry collections, the Kindle releases, and a copy of his upcoming Kindle Single, “Desynchrony: A Sullivan Doyle Story” when it releases.  This is an incredible value and I’d pay $100 for it, but Michael Anderson wants to make sure you donate to Laughs for Jasmine with this prize, so he’s set it at $50.

UPDATEx4: Spoken with comedian Lance Adams and he’s now offered the following, which is going in the rewards.  You donate $40, you get all the rewards below that total, plus you get a special recorded message from the world’s most prominent Puppet Professional Wrestling Superstar, Foam Cold Steve Allsewn.  Foam Cold will do shout outs, roasts, whatever you want.  It’s up to you.  Just let us know when you twit @thatmiddayshow with #Laughs4Jasmine on your donation that you want Foam Cold.

How To Spot And Avoid Fraud Charities

The internet is filled with scammers wanting a quick buck.  The worst in my book are fraud or sham charities, and I’m going to outline some tips on how you can spot them and avoid them with the help of stand-up comic J.C. Ratliff.

Yes, he has green hair.

Yes, he has green hair.

J.C. knows all about fraud charities.  He was contacted by one and almost ended up tarnishing his reputation by dealing with two people who wanted to use the Wounded Warrior Project’s name to fleece people for money.  I talked with him about the experience.

“They wanted me to do a roast of all these big name celebrities,” Ratliff told me via telephone on the road to another gig on the Quit Your Day Job Comedy Tour.   “The big name was Trace Adkins.  These two were getting money from outlets like WBIR (a local television station) and other groups.  Next thing I know, all of these stars start to pull out of the event.  Then organizations that donated money ask for their money back.”

“All of a sudden, the rules changed on me.  I was told to dye my hair black.  I wasn’t going to host the roast, I was going to be a part of the roast.  Next I couldn’t insult the celebrities.  I had to go after the companies that donated money, which any sane person would realize is incredibly disrespectful.  The whole thing smelled rotten at that point so I decided to back out.”

And it’s a good thing Ratliff did, because it wasn’t long before the couple in charge of the benefit and their company were the subject of an investigation by the Tennessee Secretary of State and the Knox County District Attorney’s Office for potential fraud.

“Wouldn’t you know it?  The day Trace Adkins actually released his tour dates it turns out he was booked at a show in West Virginia the night of the “fundraiser,” Ratliff said.

The internet, and sites like GoFundMe, have made scamming people out of their money even easier.  Sometimes celebrities will even exploit the site and their fans for personal gain. Moshe Kasher is a benevolent example.  Tila Tequila is a bit more selfish an example.

Moshe Kasher set up a GoFundMe to illustrate the absurdity of people who actually have money to pay for things using a charity website to just avoid paying for expenses.  In May of 2015, Kasher created a GoFundMe to pay his rent even though he explicitly stated he had the money to pay.  He just wanted his adoring fans to pay his rent for him, and he was completely honest about it.

About a year ago, I moved into a larger house and my rent went up by a factor of nearly double. At the time I felt that that would be ok, as my income had gone up enough to be able to afford my rent. I was right. My income has only increased since then and each month I am easily able to make my rent payment. 

HOWEVER, I do not want to pay . It seems frivolous for me to spend my own money…when I can turn to the kindness and support of…most especially, my FANS, to help me pay my rent.

This is why I am turning to all of you. I keep wanting to use the phrase, “I need your help” but it’s important to me to be honest. I don’t need your help at all; I simply want your money to be spent in place of my own. (Emphasis added)

Kasher wasn’t using the site for any purpose other than to illustrate a point.  People who can pay for stuff with marketable skills they have don’t need to be asking for charity on a site designed for charity.  It got laughs, but Kasher’s GoFundMe was eventually pulled.

Tila Tequila was a bit different.  In January of this year the reality TV star began a GoFundMe to have her fans pay for her to move out of a home costing her $4500 a month in rent.  She promised in return all donors would get a phone call from her.  All of this is great until you realize Tequila’s net worth is about $1.5 million.

Tila Tequila used GoFundMe to exploit her fans’ sympathy.  She leveraged being a single mother and appealed to the emotions of her fans in order to fleece them from money she could have spent. 

Her GoFundMe got pulled too.

So how can you avoid working with charities or giving your money to charities that are frauds or scam situations?  J.C. Ratliff has several tips to help, and he was happy to pass them along.

1. If your point of contact isn’t the charity, that’s a red flag. 

“If you’re dealing with a middle man, that’s where the problems come in.” says Ratliff.  “Your first point of contact should be the organization, or someone with the organization.  If they’re not, ask why.  If you can’t get a good answer, then walk away fast.”

2. Meet the people you’re going to raise money for. 

“Conference calls and email chains are great, but they don’t beat human interaction,” says Ratliff.  He’s right.  The best practice is to meet the people face-to-face so that you can know who you’re dealing with.  “Phone calls are forgeable.  Emails are forgeable.  If you have a face to face meeting with the person, that’s different.”

3. Meet the people the charity supports. 

“Say you’re working with a charity that’s going to build a house where parents that have kids with cancer can stay.  Ask to meet the kids with cancer.  If you can’t get that from the charity, walk away,” says Ratliff.  Very good point.  If the people you’re going to raise money for can’t take you to the source of where your funds will be heading, then it’s a warning sign.

4. Ask up front how much of the money raised is actually going to the cause.  

This may seem like an “uncomfortable” question to ask, but it’s one the charity should be able to answer without hesitation.  More often than not, charities spend more money on themselves than on the causes they champion, and the biggest names are often the worst scammers.

Take the Susan G. Komen foundation, for example.  Every month in October various major organizations begin soliciting money heavily for Komen’s breast cancer research efforts.  The NFL sells pink jerseys and has pink items that give money to the Susan G. Komen foundation.  Very little money given to the Komen foundation actually goes to breast cancer research.

The site “Charity Navigator” ranks the Komen foundation two out of four stars possible for their work.  According to their research, the Susan G. Komen Foundation actually only spends $0.12 out of every dollar raised for them on breast cancer research.

And yet people give the Susan G. Komen foundations millions of dollars for their “efforts.”

“The Komen foundation says the reason they don’t actually give that much out is because they’re over extended and under staffed,” said Ratliff.  “They’ve been that way for a decade.  What does that say about their ability to do business? I’m not a lawyer but I think there’s been court cases filed against them.”

It turns out a two second Google search will show you law review articles about how litigious the Susan G. Komen foundation really is.

Keep an eye out on these tips when you’re looking for a cause to support.  It can mean the difference between money going to the right cause versus you lining someone’s pockets for no reason.

And if you’re a fan of great comedy, buy J.C. Ratliff’s debut album “Hope is a Virus”. It was recorded inside the last legal whorehouse in Tennessee. Also look up J.C. on Twitter @JCRatliffComedy.

Three Ways to Feel Like A Kid Again

When was the last time you felt like a kid?  Everything was great, the world was your oyster, and you were happy, absent a single worry or care. For me, that time was yesterday, and I’m going to show you how I made it happen.

Yesterday started off truly, absolutely lousy.  I’m already getting over an illness, I had to deliver bad news to a client, and I was neck deep in research and paperwork.  Then I got a call from an attorney who wanted to discuss an issue on a case, and in doing so he sparked the catalyst for making my day better.  He called me a “dumb white trash hick nobody’s ever heard of.”  The call ended rather quickly after that, because in my line of work I value civility among attorneys when discussing cases.  It’s not that I particularly gave a shit about what he called me or how he acted.  If you decide to take a jerky, asshole stance with me when it comes to a case, odds are I’m probably going to use that against you later.  It’s not going to accomplish much other than make me want to figure out a way to screw with you a little.  So how did that moment become a positive one?

This was simple.  I understand how to control my emotions better than most, because I know the value of positive self-talk.  So I took that phrase and ran with it, based on ways I’ve learned from people like my pal Mike Cernovich. By the end of the day, I was calling myself “America’s Most Feared White Trash Renegade” and in a far better state of mind than when I started the day.

The second step was to engage a little bit of fun in my life.  There’s nothing wrong with having fun, and sometimes the best way to do it is to realize an absurd situation and capitalize on it.  Late yesterday, I found myself in a role reversal moment from a scene in “Office Space.”

Two black men in a Ford Expedition pulled out of the parking lot of a store at the same time I was walking to my car.  They had their windows down and turned on their car stereo, which was rather loud.  The song playing was extremely recognizable: “2 of Amerika’z Most Wanted” by Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg.

As soon as they saw me, standing there in the parking lot looking at them, they had an uncomfortable moment.  A beat occurred, and there was an almost absurd silence.  I did the one thing I thought might get a positive reaction.  I said “What’s wrong?  That song is awesome! Crank it up!” The two men laughed, pointed at me, smiled, and drove off.

Seizing on an absurd moment, recognizing its absurdity, and exploiting the moment made all the difference.

At the end of the evening, I was neck deep in research on two different cases.  The amount of case law I’ve gone through has been so much I’m probably going to write a law review article on the subject matter and send it to the local Bar Journals for giggles to see if it sticks.  I’ve been so obsessed with work and writing that I’d completely forgotten NXT Takeover: Dallas was last night, and I had a chance to catch the debut of Shinsuke Nakamura on American TV.  If you’re not familiar with Nakamura and don’t understand why his debut on American television at least piqued the interest of a jaded ex pro wrestling fan who hasn’t watched any WWE programming in months, he’s probably going to be the subject of an entirely different post.

When Nakamura decided to come to America and work for World Wrestling Entertainment, I had my reservations because I know history, and I know Vince McMahon has a history of burying talents he didn’t create.  Nakamura was ostensibly ready to become the next Jimmy Wang Yang. Last night, they did good, because Nakamura got to be Nakamura.


Listen to that crowd reaction before he ever appears.  Watch how he reacts.  The man is so over with any audience that knows “The King of Strong Style” it’s a wonder by the time Sami Zayn and he finished their match people didn’t just head for the exits.

I went to bed feeling like a kid again, and my day had started as one of the worst possible.  I made sure to engage in positive self-talk, turning negatives into positives, I recognized the absurd humor of life and seized on it, and I took a break from work to have a little fun in life.

It’s not that hard to feel like a kid again.  It’s a choice, and a very simple one, whether you’re twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty.  Just let go of the fear and hatred, and look at the world through a different set of eyes.

While you’re here, go check out Fault Lines.  We’ve debuted a new feature this week, the “Friday Fail,” and your input on the worst criminal law fail of the week would be greatly appreciated.  While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter.  No spam, no gimmicks, no marketing, just 100% goodness delivered to your inbox each day.

Check out how to live the “Wrongless Approach” to life.

Calling All Cops (No, Seriously)

One of the best projects I’ve ever gotten to work with is Fault Lines, an online legal magazine run by Scott Greenfield and Lee Pacchia.  At Fault Lines, we cover all aspects of the criminal justice system from every perspective.  Our work includes a former prosecutor, an active prosecutor who has a penchant for pissing readers off by being smart and reasoned when he writes, criminal defense attorneys, a Senior Federal Judge, someone who works with prisoners, and an ex cop turned lawyer.

There’s one perspective that we’re missing at Fault Lines, though, and that’s the perspective of an active-duty cop.  If you’re reading this, and you fit that description, and you’re interested in providing the world the viewpoint of someone who straps on a service belt every day, then we’re interested in hearing from you. Give us the cops’ perspective.

You’re going to need to be able to write at least two posts per week.  You will need to be able to meet deadlines consistently.  You must be able to write in a thoughtful, reasoned, articulate fashion.  Your posts will get edited, so don’t worry about sounding erudite from the get-go.  If you’re not confident in your ability to write, Scott Greenfield will kick your ass into being one of the best writers you can possibly imagine.

We’d love to hear from you, so if you’re interested in becoming a part of Fault Lines, read the directions on how to apply and give it a shot.  The worst that will happen is Scott will say “no thanks,” and life will go on.

It’s a great platform, it’s a good cause, and you’ll be a better writer for your efforts.  If those reasons don’t make you want to give it a shot, then Fault Lines isn’t for you.  If you’re keen on bring your perspective to the table, then step up to the plate and take a swing.

While you’re reading this, take a moment and sign up for the Fault Lines newsletter.  Just enter your name and email address in the box on the right-hand side of the page and we’ll email all the good stuff we pump out to you daily.  There’s no spam, no BS, no marketing gimmicks, just 100% pure awesome legal analysis.

Seeking Skunk Works Applicants

Mark Bennett, the Texas Tornado, a guy with a commitment to radical innovation in the world of criminal defense is looking for more individuals to be a part of his “Criminal Defense Skunk Works.”

I’m proud to be a part of Mark’s Skunk Works Project, and we’ve been working with some fairly radical concepts in and out of the courtroom.  Being someone who loves mentalism and hypnosis, I reached out to Mark initially regarding incorporation of those effects into a trial setting.  Now we’re expanding into stuff a theatrical pickpocket taught me and how that might be used for depositions.

You might be able to tell that this sort of project isn’t for everyone.  It’s not something that will get you paid.  But if you’re obsessed with being better at serving your clients, then I’d suggest you apply for Mark’s Skunk Works project.  He’s looking for new members right now.

Are you a high-functioning attorney who loves to try cases and wants to get better at your job?  Do you have a commitment to experimentation with different techniques, keeping a running report going, and communicating with like-minded individuals?  Are you interested in gaining new tools and techniques to throw the government a loop in your next trial?  Then you’re the sort of person we’re looking for.

Before you buy into this, you’d be best served to check out Mark’s view, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.

In this post Mark discusses the foundation and rudimentary principles of the Skunk Works.

Here, Mark explains a few more of the concepts behind the Skunk Works and why it’s a good thing.

Finally, Mark pulls everything together with directions, including your need to use the word “lemon” at least once in your application, on how to apply to the Skunk Works if you’re interested.

Go ahead and give it a stab if you’re interested.  Read the posts, then apply.  The worst that can happen is you won’t get in.