Felix Assivo


Movie Review: Gabby’s Dollhouse: Season 3 * A Must See -Impeccable Acting, Adorable Animation, Fantastic Characters

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Movie Review: Gabby’s Dollhouse: Season 3 * A Must See -Impeccable Acting, Adorable Animation, Fantastic Characters

Cute cats, quirky crafts and colorful magic! Join kitty enthusiast Gabby and her sidekick Pandy Paws as they team up for a series of animated adventures. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Kyla C. comments, “Season 3 of Gabby’s Dollhouse is coming, and you can’t miss it! With impeccable acting, adorable animation, cute songs, fantastic characters and educational values, Gabby’s Dollhouse is a must-see for any little kid or little kid at heart.” See her full review below.  

Gabby’s Dollhouse

By Kyla C, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

Season 3 of Gabby’s Dollhouse is coming, and you can’t miss it! With impeccable acting, adorable animation, cute songs, fantastic characters and educational values, Gabby’s Dollhouse is a must-see for any little kid or little kid at heart.

Each episode of Gabby’s Dollhouse features a transformation from live-action to animation that is important to the overall storyline. Gabby (Laila Lockhart Kraner) starts as a person and Pandy Paws (Tucker Chandler) as a stuffed animal. The plot begins here and then dives into the dollhouse where Gabby and Pandy Paws become animated, along with the other dollhouse characters. The episodes are individual storylines, so each show is a brand new experience with the same high quality.

Gabby’s Dollhouse checks all of the boxes. The acting fits the characters well and they sound simply adorable. These characters are far-fetched, like funky kitties and fairies, so the voices can be unique and dripping in characterization to fit the individual creature and personality. It also adds so much to the series that the characters’ lips move in sync with their cute voices. The in-sync animation takes Gabby’s Dollhouse to a level that some animated shows don’t reach. Every character is unique and there is diversity in their appearances. The animated objects are colorful, bright and very cute. They create an interesting background that adds to the storyline in many ways. Whether these objects are used to create foreshadowing or to make the visuals more appealing, they always have a purpose. The same can be said for the animated and live-action locations, which are unique. Another outstanding element of these episodes is the consistent educational breaks. Sometimes it involves choosing to solve a problem or choosing to make a decision that makes everyone happy. These are short breaks and they get important messages across and teach life skills. The entertaining and often educational songs are another wonderful aspect. Each piece of music is woven naturally into the story. The writers have created interesting lyrics that add to the story. All of the singers and musicians mix their acting talent with their musical abilities to create a characterized, yet incredibly musical performance with each song.

The overall message of this show is about teamwork and problem solving. There are subplots and sub-messages as well, about cooking, music and art skills.

I give Season 3 of Gabby’s Dollhouse 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 8, plus families. You can watch season 3 of Gabby’s Dollhouse on Netflix now.

Keywords: Laila Lockhart Kraner, Tucker Chandler, Juliet Donenfeld, Maggie Lowe, Donovan Patton

Movie Review: Eternals * An Action Filled Blockbuster Teaching About Cultures From So Many Different Centuries

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Movie Review: Eternals * An Action Filled Blockbuster Teaching About Cultures From So Many Different Centuries

Marvel Studios’ Eternals features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, the Deviants. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Mikella G. comments, “I really like Eternals. It’s an action filled blockbuster that teaches you about cultures from so many different centuries. Most importantly, it brings you into a whole new world of marvel.” See her full review below.

Eternals

By Mikella G, KIDS FIRST!, Film Critic, age 15

I really like Eternals. It’s an action filled blockbuster that teaches you about cultures from so many different centuries. Most importantly, it brings you into a whole new world of marvel.

This film centers on the life of the eight eternals that are the first of their kind and have immortal life. Each character has their own unique characteristics, and powers. Throughout the movie they work together to help create a better planet, and learn many things along the way.

Something that really stands out to me is the amount of surprises that are thrown along the way. This movie is extremely unpredictable, which creates a suspense that really grabs the viewer’s attention. There are so many turns of events that I never expected! Another thing that I really enjoy is how many different locations are involved in the film. For instance, they talk about Mesopotamia and ancient times. We see so much about their cultures and how people back then lived their lives. The camera highlights how people used natural resources to survive. We also learn about their religion and life skills. This is especially interesting to me because I am currently learning about these places in my history class. Finally, I love how unique and diverse each character’s costumes are. For example, Thena (Angelina Jolie) has a very classically elegant wardrobe, whereas Sersi (Gemma Chan) wears more armor and structured outfits. I love fashion, and enjoy when movies put a lot of attention into it and that is definitely the case here.

The message of this film is to never lose sight of who you are, no matter what unexpected surprises life throws at you. This film does include a slightly sexual scene, as well as violence with fire and open wounds.


I give Eternals 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18, plus adults. You can watch Eternals in theaters starting November 5, 2021.

Keywords: Gemma Chan, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lia McHugh, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridolfi, Barry Keoghan, Don Lee, Harish Patel, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Chloe Zhao, Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, Kaz Firpo, Jack Kirby, Nate Moore, Ben Davis

How To Get Organized With Your Medications

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Health & Wellness
How To Get Organized With Your Medications

If you have to take a lot of medications, then it can be quite challenging to be organized. There would be days where you have a lot of tasks and you feel overwhelmed and it would be quite helpful if you didn’t have to stress about taking the right types and amounts of medications.

So, in this post, we will look at a couple of ways that you can get your medications organized so you can always ensure you’re taking the best care of your health.

Purchase A Pill Organizer

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get your medication organized is to use a pill organizer. You can easily buy this at any pharmacy or check out our personal selection. In most cases, these pill organizers have about 7 or 8 compartments that are labeled. Each compartment is for each day of the week with an extra compartment as a spare.

This is a great way to keep your medications on track so you know exactly what to take on each day of the week. It is especially helpful if you have to take different medications on different days.

Create Reminders & Set Alarms

If you usually forget to take your medication every day at the same time, then you should put an alarm on your phone so that you’re reminded to do so. The vast majority of mobile phones have reminders and alarms that you can use. This will help you to remember exactly when to take your pills, regardless of where you are.

Create A Schedule

One of the easiest ways to remember to take your medications is to make it a habit to take them at the same time, every day. So, for example, you can make this time in the morning, before or after breakfast.

Alternatively, you can take your medications right before bed after brushing your teeth. When you have a schedule, it will make taking your medications a habit that you automatically remember every day. It is also a great strategy if you don’t want to completely rely on your phone alarm.

Get your prescriptions online by QuickRXRefill for an easy way to order prescriptions.

Store All Medications In One Area

Make sure that you store all of your medications and prescriptions in one area that is dry and safe. This area should also be secure so they don’t easily get lost or even damaged. This will make it more likely that you’ll take them when you need to.

If you travel frequently, then you should consider using the Deluxe Pill Organizer since this will keep all your pills together in one place that you can keep with you, wherever you travel.

Create A Checklist

If you need to start taking a new medication, then creating a checklist is a good idea. When you have a list that contains all of the medications you have to take as well as the quantities, times, etc., this is very helpful for yourself and your doctor. Your doctor would be able to easily see what medications you’re taking, the quantities as well as how often you’re taking them.

This will ensure they don’t prescribe additional medications that negatively interact with the pills you’re already taking. It will also be a great way to get your medications organized so that you don’t get confused or forget what you’re taking or need to take.

Speak To Your Doctor

If the medications prescribed to you by your medical professional are confusing, be sure to have a chat with them to see if there are any simpler alternatives. However, remember that your pharmacist can also help as they are a part of your healthcare team. If you have issues, be sure to also talk to your pharmacist as they can likely assist. They’d also be able to assist in creating a medication checklist to keep you organized.

Movie Review: The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses * A Cinematic Masterpiece About One Of America’s Most Iconic Animals – The Mustang

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Movie Review: The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses * A Cinematic Masterpiece About One Of America’s Most Iconic Animals – The Mustang

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses is a feature documentary that takes audiences on an odyssey throughout America to places few people have seen or know about. There are more than 80,000 wild horses on our public lands and 50,000 in government corrals. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Philipps says, “The wild horse is so ingrained in the American imagination that even for those who have never seen one know what it stands for: fierce independence, unbridled freedom, the bedrock ideals of the nation. From car ads to high school mascots, the wild horse — popularly known as the mustang — is the enduring icon of America. But in modern times it has become entangled in controversy and bureaucracy, and now its future is in question.” The film features songs by Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson and an original song written by Diane Warren and performed by Blanco Brown. “America’s wild horses are fighting their last stand,” said Executive Producer Robert Redford. The Mustangs….the fight for freedom has begun!

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses is a cinematic masterpiece that tells the story of one of America’s most iconic animals: the mustang. The impeccable cinematography and emotionally-compelling narrative make up for times when the film feels a bit more like an advertisement than a documentary.” See his full review below.

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses is a cinematic masterpiece that tells the story of one of America’s most iconic animals: the mustang. The impeccable cinematography and emotionally-compelling narrative make up for times when the film feels a bit more like an advertisement than a documentary.

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses follows an array of stories, including how an organization is helping veterans deal with their PTSD by matching them with horses.  Another story follows a group that manages mustang population growth through a unique form of fertility control, and yet another narrative follows “Wild Horse Annie,” who motivated kids to save wild horses 50 years ago.  An additional storyline focuses on a sanctuary reuniting rounded-up wild horses.

Hearing perspectives from individuals like Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Philipps enhances the film’s compelling mission, as does the breathtaking cinematography! The symbolism of the mustang, independence and freedom, is conveyed through panoramic shots of these majestic horses traveling across lush expanses of the American countryside, their manes billowing and hooves clip-clopping. Every individual interviewed for The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses brings a fresh take to the story, and the genuine passion and commitment each of them have for what they do is palpable. The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses is certainly a magnificently-produced documentary!

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses promotes kindness to animals as well as preserving history. It takes a strong stance against animal cruelty and sheds light on an alternative therapy, matching veterans to horses.

I give The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses opens theatrically nationwide on October 15, 2021, and premieres on VOD on November 23, 2021.

Keywords: Steven Latham, Conrad Stanley, Robert Redford, Brian Pratt, Andrew Gross, Patti Scialfa, Jesse Springsteen, Diane Warren, Bob Bronow, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Diane Warren, Blanco Brown

3 Industries Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Over the Next Decade

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Business
3 Industries Artificial Intelligence Will Transform Over the Next Decade

This week’s article is provided by Eric Redmond, a twenty-year veteran technologist and author. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled Deep Tech: Demystifying the Breakthrough Technologies that aired on Tuesday, June 29th. The following article has been adapted from the Deep Tech book.

Artificial intelligence as a field has existed in one form or another for centuries, but only in the past decade or so has it reached the critical point of going mainstream. No longer confined to science fiction, artificial intelligence (AI) is at work behind Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google’s search engine, and many other technologies we use every day.

These applications of AI, while exciting, are only the beginning. Over the next decade, we can expect AI to transform many industries, including these three: agriculture, manufacturing, and the military.

Now that the Pandora’s box of AI has been opened, there are very few fields that artificial intelligence won’t affect in the near future. We’ll never stop finding new ways to add intelligence to dumb processes or inanimate objects.

With this transformation comes the chance to invest in and adopt these new technologies, but to seize the opportunity, you’ll have to first understand what to expect from the shifting landscape of industries.

Industry #1: Agriculture

The first industry worth exploring in relation to the rise of artificial intelligence is agriculture. Historically the largest industry, agriculture has long been in the crosshairs of innovative technologies. From plowshares to cotton gins to factory farming and GMOs, each innovation seems to increase yield and decrease the number of people required to work in this grueling sector. The influence of AI is expected to be no different.

One way AI will reduce required labor is through monitoring of soil and crop conditions and targeted deployment of solutions. For example, John Deere announced the acquisition of a company that leverages machine-learning vision systems to automatically spray weed killer directly onto plants, reducing herbicide use by 90 percent.

Several other companies, such as ecoRobotix, are creating chemical-free, mechanical weed-pulling robots. Many of these robots are also capable of targeted insecticide deployment, helping stave off many of the unintended consequences of over spraying, such as bee colony collapse. And speaking of bees, there’s now a pollinating robot called Bramble Bee. Furthermore, nearly 90 percent of crop losses are due to weather-related events, and the task of weather prediction is tailor-made for big data and machine learning.

Monitoring all the details of million-hectare farmlands is daunting work for humans yet perfect for machines, which is why you can expect to see a massive intersection between AI and agriculture in the coming decade.

Industry #2: Manufacturing

Next, let’s take a high-level look at how AI will impact manufacturing. Even in the early 1950s, automation was taking over manufacturing tasks in Henry Ford’s automobile factories. Our collective and persistent fear of automation goes back even further—just look at the Luddites of 1811, who famously destroyed high-tech cotton mills.

It’s true that automation, along with outsourcing, has contributed to a decrease in manufacturing jobs in first world nations. Still, over 8 percent of Americans earn a living in the manufacturing industry, which is over 11 percent of US GDP. Much of the technology needed to automate the remaining jobs currently exists: robotic arms, logistics machinery, quality control systems, and the like. So how will AI change things?

The introduction of AI into manufacturing takes automation to the next level by turning expensive specialty robots into general purpose cobots, or collaborative robots. Rather than huge, clunky welding robots, blind to the world and programmed for a narrow range of tasks, cobots can be taught many different tasks, retooling themselves automatically.

Cobots are also aware of their surroundings, capable of working side by side with humans on complex tasks. This allows cobots to slowly ease their way into a workspace and take over more work, limited only by an exponentially growing intelligence. Cobots may not be able to do all tasks, but they can do enough to bend that 8 percent of jobs down a few points while reducing waste, cost, and overhead.

Industry #3: Military

Lastly, artificial intelligence will undoubtedly transform the military. For the military, AI poses a siren song that’s too attractive to ignore: perfect knowledge of world events from governments to battlefields, paired with robots that bend the casualties on your side toward zero.

AI can better support troops by improving training systems and creating novel curricula for war games. It can provide smart weapons and better intelligence, along with the more pedestrian benefits of industry, like optimizing logistic challenges in the world’s most challenging situations, or helping troops with maintenance tasks.

Autonomous weapons are increasingly augmented with AI, such as smart-camera-controlled tactical missiles. Even if control ultimately remains in human hands, the myriad of complexities that would take humans years to learn can be partially automated, allowing operation from fewer specialist hands, like flying attack drones. Moreover, the ability to correctly detect targets can drastically reduce collateral damage and innocent deaths.

These are only a few straightforward examples and may not even scratch the surface of the many uses for AI in the military. At the very least, increasing automation may allow countries to shrink their military budgets in favor of more civilian expenditures.

The Time to Invest in AI is Now

I’ve only scratched the surface of how AI will transform agriculture, manufacturing, and the military, and as you can see, the potential uses for the technology are myriad. Artificial intelligence is already making an impact on our daily lives and most profitable industries, and its influence will continue to grow.

Even if you don’t work directly in tech, now is the time to get involved in the AI revolution. Historically, the people and companies that profit the most from emerging technologies are the ones who adapt and invest in them early. Moreover, these early adopters drive further adoption of the technologies, forcing everyone else to catch up.

You can get involved by learning more about how artificial intelligence will transform your industry, whether you work in agriculture, manufacturing, the military, or practically any other industry—AI is coming to disrupt them all. Prepare to be the first among your competitors to implement new AI solutions in your business, and like Amazon, Apple, and Google, you’ll position yourself to win.

For more advice on emerging technologies, you can find Deep Tech on Amazon.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Eric Redmond is the Forrest Gump of technology: a twenty-year veteran technologist who always happens to show up wherever deep tech history is being made, from the first iPhone apps to big data to Bitcoin. He has advised state and national governments, Fortune 100 companies, and groups as varied as the World Economic Forum and MIT Media Lab. He has also authored half a dozen technology books (including two tech books for babies) and spoken on every continent except Antarctica. Today, he’s a husband, a dad, and the leader of a global tech innovation team.

Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

Movie Review: Star Trek: Prodigy * An Enthralling And Unique Offering From A Franchise That Doesn’t Normally Cater To Kids

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Movie Review: Star Trek: Prodigy * An Enthralling And Unique Offering From A Franchise That Doesn’t Normally Cater To Kids

In 2383, five years after the USS Voyager returned to Earth, a motley crew of young aliens in the Delta Quadrant find an abandoned Starfleet ship, the USS Protostar. Taking control of the ship, they must learn to work together as they make their way towards the Alpha Quadrant. The series uses computer animation, differing from previous Star Trek animation. The series is intended for younger audiences than the rest of the franchise. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Eshaan M. comments, “An enthralling and unique offering from a franchise that doesn’t normally cater to a kid-specific audience, Star Trek: Prodigy is an action-packed CGI-animated series that kids will love!” See his full review below.

Star Trek: Prodigy

By Eshaan M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

An enthralling and unique offering from a franchise that doesn’t normally cater to a kid-specific audience, Star Trek: Prodigy is an action-packed CGI-animated series that kids will love!

Star Trek: Prodigy follows a crew of six young aliens, all of whom are outcasts, tasked with navigating the galaxy searching for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise and an element that certainly keeps the show approachable for newbies. It’s an entertaining and novel concept, and the sense of wonder the characters feel is contagious.

My favorite character has to be Dal (Brett Gray). He’s instantly likeable, seems to be up for any challenge, and has one heck of a personality! It’s characters like Dal who make this series the perfect way for Star Trek to introduce the franchise to younger audiences. Showrunners Dan and Kevin Hageman and director Ben Hibon evidently worked hard on the plot and overall look of the show. They came up with a whole new cast of protagonists and animation language, which I find perfectly fitting for the show’s intergalactic theme. The soft purples, oranges, yellows and blues work in tandem to produce a wonderful backdrop for the saga of the young misfits, played by Ella Purnell, Jason Mantzoukas, Brett Gray and Rylee Alazraqui. Kate Mulgrew’s reprisal of her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway is also especially exciting, and Mulgrew manages to phenomenally hit every beat.

Star Trek: Prodigy promotes teamwork, kindness and the idea of working hard to achieve your greater goals and dreams.  As Engadget puts it, “part of the franchise’s ethos is exploration,” and discovery is certainly a major theme in this show.

I give Star Trek: Prodigy 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for kids age 8 to 18, plus adults. Star Trek: Prodigy premieres October 28, 2021 on the streaming service Paramount+ with its first 10-episode season. Go check it out!

Keywords: Science fiction, Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman, Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry, Ben Hibon, Kate Mulgrew, Rylee Alazraqui, Brett Gray, Angus Imrie, Jason Mantzoukas, Ella Purnell, Dee Bradley Baker, John Noble, Jimmi Simpson, Michael Giacchino, CBS Eye Animation, Nichelodeon Animation, Secret Hideout, Roddenberry Entertainment, Paramount+,

Movie Review: Ron’s Gone Wrong * Challenges Of Being A Middle Schooler, Including Wanting To Fit In, Are Universal

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Movie Review: Ron’s Gone Wrong * Challenges Of Being A Middle Schooler, Including Wanting To Fit In, Are Universal

Twentieth Century Studios and Locksmith Animation’s “Ron’s Gone Wrong” is the story of Barney, a socially awkward middle-schooler and Ron, his new walking, talking, digitally-connected device, which is supposed to be his ‘Best Friend out of the Box.’ Ron’s hilarious malfunctions set against the backdrop of the social media age launch them into an action-packed journey in which boy and robot come to terms with the wonderful messiness of true friendship.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Samantha B. comments, “Ron’s Gone Wrong is an outstanding animated film, written by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith. It really connects with its audience through funny jokes and loveable characters, while also delivering the important message that no matter how kids present themselves, especially in middle school, they all are experiencing similar challenges and feelings.” See her full review below.

Ron’s Gone Wrong

Samantha B., Kids First! Film Critic, Age 11

Ron’s Gone Wrong is an outstanding animated film, written by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith. It really connects with its audience through funny jokes and loveable characters, while also delivering the important message that no matter how kids present themselves, especially in middle school, they all are experiencing similar challenges and feelings. This message is very important, especially for young kids and teens to hear, and Ron’s Gone Wrong brings this theme to light.

The storyline follows a socially awkward middle schooler named Barney (Jack Dylan Grazer), who is ostracized because he does not own the hottest new piece of tech — a B-bot, or a digitally connected “Best Friend Out of the Box.”  That changes when his grandmother and father surprise him for his birthday with his very own B-bot, although this B-bot is a bit different than what he expected.

The film is critical of social media replacing friendships in real life and the potential of tech companies to violate people’s privacy. One of the characters has an embarrassing image of her go viral through her B-bot, resulting in her feeling embarrassed and being unable to take it down. Ron’s Gone Wrong has a very talented, all-star cast. Jack Dylan Grazer’s portrayal of Barney makes him believable and relatable as a middle school outcast. Another hilarious cast member is Zach Galifianakis, who voices the defective B-bot, Ron. He cracks me up and makes this movie so funny. Director Octavio Rodriguez creates a vibrant, colorful animation style that brings these characters to life – especially the B-bots, but also the goat and chicken that belong to Barney’s grandmother who is from “the old country.”

The primary message is that the challenges of being a middle schooler, including wanting to fit in and make friends, are universal. There is also a critical message about the danger of too much technology and its impact on kids and the world.  Parents should know there is some animated violence when Ron goes after Barney’s bullies, but overall, the film is very positive.

I give Ron’s Gone Wrong 5 out 5 stars and I highly recommend it for ages 9 to 18, plus adults.  I love this movie and believe you will too. You can watch Ron’s Gone Wrong in theaters October 22, 2021.

Keywords: Peter Baynham, Sarah Smith, Ron’s Gone Wrong, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, animation, J.P.Vine, Julie Lockhart, Liam Payne, Iara Nemirov, Ava Morse, Bentley Kalu, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Olivia Colman, Ed Helms, Justice Smith, Rob Delaney, Kylie Cantrall Ricardo Hurtado, Marcus Scribner, Thomas Barbusca, Disney, 20th century studios,

Movie Review: Secret Agent Dingledorf And His Trusty Dog Splat * Relatable Message, Interesting Storyline, Shows The Importance Of Teamwork

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Movie Review: Secret Agent Dingledorf And His Trusty Dog Splat * Relatable Message, Interesting Storyline, Shows The Importance Of Teamwork

Using quirky inventions from a spy backpack, young Bernie Dingledorf, his dog, and two best friends, are the only ones who can save the world by facing bullies, thwarting circus clowns and destroying Dr. Chuckles evil laugh generator. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giana N. comments, “Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat is a film that has a relatable message, an interesting storyline, and shows the importance of teamwork. There are some familiar faces in this film, making it one to watch.” See her full review below.

Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat

By Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat is a film that has a relatable message, an interesting storyline, and shows the importance of teamwork. There are some familiar faces in this film, making it one to watch.

The story follows a 10-year-old boy named Bernie Dingledorf (Zackary Arthur) who is living a normal life, until he and his friends eat a Gooey Chewy Bar. This makes the friends immune to the Laugh Generator, which is being used by Dr. Chuckles, a clown who is trying to take over the world through uncontrollable laughter. When a secret spy agency called T.W.I.T. forces Bernie and his friends to come together to save the world from Dr. Chuckles, it is up to them to step up to the plate.

The acting in this film is not great, but it’s acceptable. The sets are very colorful and creative. At some points you can tell they are using a green screen such as when we see the T.W.I.T. agency behind the characters – the setting looks like it has been edited. My favorite aspect is the storyline, which is entertaining and fun. Throughout the movie we see Berinie and his friends go on an adventure to figure out how to stop the clowns from creating world-wide havoc, which can be a fun, exciting, adventure for the audience.  My favorite character is IQ (Cooper J. Friedman) because he’s really funny. Although IQ is small, he is a big help in stopping the clowns. The others think that just because he is small, he doesn’t know much and is small-brained. But, I like the fact that he is really just as smart as the others.

The message of this film is that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, God doesn’t make junk. This film is completely family friendly.

I rate Secret Agent Dingledorf and His Trusty Dog Splat 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 8. You can find this film on VOD starting October 23, 2021. Be sure to check it out.

Keywords: Billy Dickson, Bill Myers, Paul Johansson, Zachary Arthur, Jason Dolley, Shiloh Nelson, Cooper J. Friedman, Ryan O’Quinn, Kevin Sizemore, Alex McArthur, Darcy Dponavan, Nicola Lambo, comedy, family

Garden gremlins

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Empowerment
Garden gremlins

Halloween House.jpeg

Gnome and elf and fairy,

Witch and ghost make merry

On this last of dear October’s days.” Lettie. C. Van Derveer, Halloween Happenings, 1921

 

The howling, nipping, and barking of the coyote send shivers down my back. Although they hunt throughout the day, as dusk settles over the hills and the moon rises, these wily carnivores set out to regulate the ecosystem. As apex crepuscular predators in an urban landscape, their prey is often our beloved pet. Creepy and blood-curdling!

coyote on hill.jpeg

For kids, the hot topic of conversation this week revolves around Halloween. As we decorate pumpkins and light Jack O’lanterns, spooky specimens and wild phantoms are also prowling around our hallowed grounds.

Glitter pumpkin.jpg

We work hard to maintain our landscapes and it’s frustrating to have our sanctuaries invaded by unwanted organisms. One of the most noxious weeds to assault our gardens is the bindweed. Mimicking the fair face of a morning glory flower, like a poltergeist, it twists and tangles until it strangles plants and shrubs. Each plant produces more than fifty seeds that can survive for fifty years or more, making this deep-rooted gremlin a wicked weed to eradicate. 

Bind weed (looks like morning glory).jpeg

The cast list of freaky wild ones includes the misunderstood good, the beastly bad, and the pesky players that we often wish to hocus pocus somewhere else.

THE MISUNDERSTOOD GOOD

 

Owls

Owls are the silent, stealthy hunters of our gardens providing free rodent control. When you hear their haunting hoots, be grateful that they’ve designated your trees as their habitat. Install a tall owl nesting box if you don’t have old trees attractive to owls.

Frogs and Toads

In folkloric traditions, magic potions are concocted in rituals using frogs and toads to cast evil spells. These helpful hoppers have been much maligned. As a natural pest controller, they will munch over 10,000 insects in a few months. Their summer song and mating calls are melodious, indicating that you have a healthy environment. Turn a broken clay pot on its side, bury it halfway in the soil, and welcome these amphibians to their toad abode.

 

Bats

Dracula and the coronavirus have something in come…they both disparaged the docile bat. Bats are not winged rodents or bloodsuckers. Instead, they are the only flying mammals with wings. Bats are productive pest patrollers feeding on insects, progressive pollinators of hundreds of plant species, and sensational seed dispersers. These flying friends don’t plague people, but they will devour a thousand mosquitoes in an hour. Provide habitat for these winged heroes to roost by erecting a bat house twelve to fifteen feet off the ground. As a bonus to your garden, they’ll offer nutrient-rich fertilizer with their excrement, guano. If you fear vampires, plant garlic. 

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Snakes

Snakes are slimy, slithering, and scary. But most snakes are harmless and helpful garden assistants. The common garter snake preys on insects, slugs, and rodents and prefers to live in cool, dark places. Keep your doors closed as it would be frightening to find that a female gave birth to up to fifty live young under your bed! The elegant Kingsnake is welcome in any landscape as it eats venomous snakes like the rattlesnake or copperhead as well as rodents and other plant destroyers.

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Skunks

Skunks are the garbage collectors of the garden. These docile black and white creatures will eat anything including insects, rodents, and yellow jacket larvae. When fruit falls from a tree, they’ll be the clean-up crew. Pet food and birdseed are attractors. Because of their odorous spray, these mostly nocturnal, solitary, and non-confrontational creatures get a bad rap. When threatened, they’ll stomp, hiss, and puff up before raising their tail and unleashing their potent defense system. 

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Spiders

Little Miss Muffet had no reason to run away. Only unwanted insects such as grasshoppers, aphids, cockroaches, and mosquitoes need to fear these valuable web weavers. Research is underway by scientists on the benefits of spider venom to prevent arthritis while the strength of spider silk is inspiring mechanical engineers. 

THE BEASTLY BAD

 

Gophers, Moles, Voles

Although we witness the horror gophers, moles, and voles create in our lawns and yard, we rarely see these creeping critters. Stomping on the mounds, trails, and holes may distract them for a while, but like the Terminator, they’ll be back. Setting multiple traps and checking them daily is the best method. If all else fails, call in the pros.

Rats and Mice

Rats and mice gnaw through wiring, wood, pipes, bags of birdseed, and make nests in our stored patio furniture pads. Reproducing rapidly and prolifically, rats spread disease, contaminate food sources, and infest our homes and gardens. In just three years, a single rat can produce half a billion descendants! Trapping is the humane manner to eradicate these pests unless the wicked witch of the West unleashes her feral black cats to hunt and exterminate. 

Raccoons

If you are hearing scratching noises in your attic, it’s not the walking dead. You could have rodents or raccoons. Raccoons will walk on a tree branch to access your roof and set up a den in the spaces above your ceiling. They also are attracted to garbage, pet food, bird feeders, bird nests, and they kill poultry. Raccoons are major hosts of rabies in the United States. Make sure to cut your tree branches back at least six to eight feet from your roof to protect yourself from these masked marauders as well as from fire laddering. Deter raccoons from setting up house with cayenne pepper sprinkled wherever needed and spray your shrubs and bushes with a solution of a bottle of hot sauce mixed with water. 

Wild Boars

Wild boars destroy yards, damage fences, and are a danger to humans. The destruction of property by feral hogs costs agriculture over $1.5 billion annually. They compete with wildlife for food and negatively impact our natural ecosystem, increasing soil erosion and decreasing water quality. Their trampling, rooting, and digging have devastated numerous lawns and gardens locally. Wild hogs are a horror show.

 

PESKY PLAYERS

Squirrels, deer, and turkeys are a nuisance to homeowners.

Squirrels

Bushy-tailed squirrels strip fruit and vegetables from trees and vines before it is harvest time and often take up residence in homes. I’ve witnessed squirrels scampering on my fence with an apple from my tree that was bigger than his head. They have denuded my pistache trees of their unripe berries and stolen all the chestnuts from the trees. Nevertheless, I enjoy their aerial antics and circus acrobatics as well as their lively chatter.

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Deer

Deer demolish gardens with their dining desires. The only sure way to keep them away from your sacred spaces is to build a tall fence enclosing your property. Since my garden is fenced and protected, I welcome the doe and her twin fawns on their daily 6:30 pm visit to graze on my grassy slope. Sometimes the stags sharpen their antlers on my oaks and often leave me a gift of them.

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Turkeys

Turkeys fly over those fences to forage for berries, bugs, and buds. Living in my pines, I sometimes have as many as two dozen gobbling and scratching. I’ve watched how they share the bounty of their discoveries with some of the birds shaking branches to release fruit to their young waiting below.

Elves, fairies, and gnomes are invited to roam my haunted garden to protect and serve.  If you get an infestation of any of the “beastly bad” or when the “pesky players” are bewitching and injurious to your property, it may behoove you to call in the ghostbusters, also known as licensed depredators for nuisance wildlife control. R.I.P.

SPOOKY SHRUBS

Ending this article on a lighter note, if you are looking for an all-black bush to showcase for Halloween, Proven Winners developed a crapemyrtle called Center Stage Red that boasts jet black leaves with stunning summer red blooms. I’m partnering this black beauty with a heat-tolerant gardenia, Steady as She Goes. Shrubs with names that evoke goosebumps include Ghost Weigela, Abracadabra Hydrangeas, and Handsome Devil Viburnum.

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As October comes to an end, I wish you zombie thrills, frights, and chills. May the grim reapers stay away from your garden. Charge up your broomsticks and have a very happy, safe Halloween.

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Happy gardening. Happy growing. Trick or Treat!

Photos and More: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1518/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Gremlins-of-the-garden.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

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Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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Sustain Business Growth, Build Relationships, & Watch Out for Tax

Posted by Felix Assivo on
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Business
Sustain Business Growth, Build Relationships, & Watch Out for Tax

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The number of businesses that fail in the United States is staggering. How does a business survive the two, three, five, and 10 year time horizons? Building relationships will help to empower you to feel confident about business growth. We will discuss strategies small businesses can use to safeguard and to hedge their bets, during start-up or to get past the two-year hurdle for sustainable growth. Learn how small businesses can be resurrected after stalling or losing market share. Do large companies have an advantage? Can even a small company use outsourcing? How do taxes come into all this? We will discuss how small business can compete and thrive by simply changing their thinking and developing the right relationships.

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