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A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood * Timely Message About Forgiveness and Redemption

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Kids
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood * Timely Message About Forgiveness and Redemption

Two-time Oscar®-winner Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about empathy, kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Selene W. comments, “It’s definitely A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when Tom Hanks portrays the iconic Mister Rogers.  The message is timely and needed now more than ever.  This movie is not what I expected. You learn about Mr. Rogers’ through his relationship with a man who didn’t want to be his friend or neighbor.” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer adds, “I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He seemed like the nicest man on the planet. Casting the nicest actor on the planet as Fred Rogers was brilliant. Mr. Hanks brings the deliberate-speaking teacher to life in a way I can’t describe.” See their full reviews below.

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/TGgju765nXQ

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It’s definitely A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood when Tom Hanks portrays the iconic Mister Rogers.  The message is timely and needed now more than ever.  This movie is not what I expected. You learn about Mr. Rogers’ through his relationship with a man who didn’t want to be his friend or neighbor.  It’s a message that we all need to hear.A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is based on a true life story about the relationship that develops between Fred Rogers and a cynical reporter who is loath to interview him for a piece on American heroes.  In the movie, the reporter is Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) who gives an amazing performance.  Through his interactions with Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks), Vogel begins to understand that part of him is broken.  The healing process begins as their friendship develops and you see Fred Rogers teaching him to understand, accept and voice his emotions and feelings.  It is beautiful.  Tom Hanks is masterful in this role at bringing out the transformation of his friend.

 

In addition to Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys, the cast has other powerful performances, notably Chris Cooper who plays Lloyd’s dad, Jerry Vogel.  Christine Lahti, as Lloyd’s Editor Ellen, pushes him to work on the hero piece and adds a touching element to the movie as well. The film is directed by Marielle Heller and written by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.  Music plays an important role in this movie and is by Nate Heller.  The scenes of Mr. Rogers playing the piano along with the behind-the-scenes of the television show during filming of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood are particularly moving. The message of this film is that anyone can change the world with words.  It’s a powerful message that we often forget.  Listen and think before you speak, as your words impact others.  Fred Rogers finds a positive way to help others express their feelings, which is not an easy thing to do, although he makes it look easy.  Forgiveness and redemption are another theme in this film.

 

I rate this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 and adults will love it as well.  The film opens in theaters November 22, 2019 so don’t miss it this Thanksgiving season!

 

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VLEPhfEN2M&t=3s

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I grew up watching Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. He seemed like the nicest man on the planet. Casting the nicest actor on the planet as Fred Rogers was brilliant. Mr. Hanks brings the deliberate-speaking teacher to life in a way I can’t describe.  I’m betting Tom Hanks will be nominated for many awards for this role. He becomes Fred Rogers in the film.Kindness is so simple. This film is a beautiful and timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. In the film his character is named Lloyd Vogel (Matthew Rhys) and he is grumpy and not interested in an assigned puff-piece profile of Fred Rogers. Throughout the film, he works through his skepticism, and learns kindness, and decency from America’s most beloved neighbor.

 

The real lesson is learned by Lloyd as he works through issues of fathers, his own (Chris Cooper) and his new role as a father.  The film is moving and brings forth many emotions – from grief to sadness to joy, and everything in between. Lloyd’s wife, Andrea (Susan Kelechi Watson) is the bridge between Lloyd’s family pain and his future as a better Dad.Lloyd spoke to my heart and begs the audience to feel emotions and be kind, clean up family messes and listen to others when help is needed. I believe every person who sees this film will be moved. The depth of Fred Rogers reach is felt on a public subway. I have not been able to forget this scene since I screened the film.

 

I give this film 4 of 5 stars for its beautiful theme, set design and character development.  At times, it is slow, yet is parallels Mr. Rogers’ pace so I’m not sure if this was intentional or a flaw.  This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18, as well as adults. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens in theaters on November 22, 2019. See it!

 

Frozen II * Beautiful Sequel To One of the Greatest Animated Films Ever Made

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Frozen II * Beautiful Sequel To One of the Greatest Animated Films Ever Made

Why was Elsa born with magical powers? The answer is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she’ll set out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In Frozen, Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In Frozen II, she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—and featuring the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Frozen 2 opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2019. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Zoe C. comments, “Frozen II is a beautiful continuation of one of the greatest animated films ever made. We know the story and characters from the 2013 film, so it’s not as original, surprising and innovative as the first one, but as the story evolves so does the animation.” Lindalee R. adds, “I love Frozen II so much, because the animation is so fantastic and it is so great to see all the characters come back together for a whole new adventure.” Will C. chimes in with, “The message of this film is that when you feel that you’ve lost all hope, you should do the next right thing.” Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror, wraps it up with, “I must admit. I love Disney. I loved the very original Frozen and love Frozen II! The music is captivating, as are the loveable characters we fell in love with when Frozen debuted in 2013. When it comes to music, I predict “Into the Unknown” is going to become this year’s “Let It Go.” See their full reviews and interviews from the premiere and junket below.

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Frozen II

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/CzrVq1wwYU0

 

Frozen II is a beautiful continuation of one of the greatest animated films ever made. We know the story and characters from the 2013 film, so it’s not as original, surprising and innovative as the first one, but as the story evolves so does the animation. The characters grow in their arc, becoming more mature, with stronger relationships and technically, Frozen II is a much better film than its predecessor.Anna (Kristen Bell), Elsa (Idina Menzel), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad) and Sven have become a family. Now, they try to discover the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their Kingdom because it seems as if Elsa has awakened some powerful spirits. They leave Arandelle, their hometown, and embark into a Nordic odyssey, in the impetuous fall, where they will face dangers and will meet new characters.

 

During the film’s 103 minutes, we are delighted with seven new songs, most of them as iconic as those in the previous film and 19 score tracks. “Into the Unknown” stays with you and I’m sure we will hear this beautiful composition at the Oscar ceremony. Frozen II feels like a musical at times and that just makes the movie better.The story is well narrated and easy to follow for little ones. Sisterhood is a powerful force and the bond between Anna and Elsa only strengths during the whole movie.

 

Frozen II is absolutely eye candy with a beautiful color palette similar to the original adding the warm tones of autumn. The filmmakers traveled to Finland, Iceland and Norway for inspiration. They consulted with a botanist in Oslo to make sure the forest resembles the authentic vegetation there. The animation is not just beautiful, but also a great representation of the Nordic folklore and the geography of the places. We can also appreciate the advances in technology in the new characters. Among the most challenging to animate are Nokk, the water spirit and Gale, the wind spirit. The costumes are very detailed and gorgeous and, even Olaf gets to wear one!

 

The actors from the original cast reprise their roles and Jason Ritter makes his Disney debut as the voice of Ryder. My favorite characters are Brunni, the salamander and Olaf played by Josh Gad. Olaf is very funny and his character becomes bigger in this sequel. My favorite scenes are the ones where the characters are discovering the elements in the forest, because each one represents a new challenge.The message of the film is about creating your own destiny and not being afraid of growing up.

 

I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 16, as well as adults. Frozen II opens November 22, 2019. Be sure to check it out!

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Frozen II

By Lindalee R., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

 

I love Frozen II so much, because the animation is so fantastic and it is so great to see all the characters come back together for a whole new adventure. In the first movie Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) rediscovered being sisters. In this movie, which takes place three years after the original, their closeness as sisters is stronger than ever.

 

https://youtu.be/dsJYiE_OeGk

 

The movie starts off in the past with Anna and Elsa’s parents telling Anna and Elsa about the enchanted forest. Their mom sings them a lullaby about a secret place full of magical powers. Then we fast forward to present time and Elsa hears a mysterious voice that calls her into the North Woods and the adventure begins. Along the way they meet the Northuldra, a tribe of people who live in the enchanted forest that are connected with the elements. On this journey Anna and Elsa find out about their parents’ past and Elsa finds out who and what she really is.Frozen II has seven new original songs and all new characters that help Elsa on her journey to discover who she is and the origin of her powers. “Lost in the Woods” sung by Kristoff; it is so funny because it has all these inside jokes from old music videos. There are also two great songs sung by Elsa – “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself.” Plus, Olaf (Josh Gad) also has a really fun song called “When I am Older’’ and Anna sings a song too.

 

Throughout this movie Olaf become smarter and much funnier. It’s a really great experience to see that happen to our favorite little lovable snowman. This movie has a lot of comedy, adventure and touching moments.The message of this film is to follow your heart and listen to your gut, because if you do, there could be a huge adventure waiting for you. Another important message in the movie is that family is important and will always be there for you; so don’t ever turn them away when they offer to help.

https://youtu.be/_SKaoJf0p54

 

I give Frozen II, 5 out of 5 snowflakes and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults will love it too! You can catch it in theaters November 22, 2019. Look for it.

 

Frozen II

By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

https://youtu.be/OKWDganPB7w

 

Frozen II is an exciting animated adventure with lots of laughs! The bright, lively animation really gives character to everyone in this movie. The new songs and exciting story make this film a great choice for the whole family.Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) set off on a quest with their friends Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and trusted reindeer Sven. They’re following a mysterious voice that only Elsa can hear; in hopes of finding the enchanted forest their father told them about when they were kids. Along the way, they encounter spirits of air, water, earth, and fire, and they learn of a mysterious fifth spirit that they must find. Elsa and Anna work together to right a wrong from the past, even though this may mean sacrificing everything.

 

Frozen II has lots of great new songs that help tell the story, but nothing as catchy as those in the original film. There is no main villain or antagonist, just a lot of angry spirits to deal with. The audience at the screening I attended really loved the sequence where Olaf treats some new characters to a hilarious recap of the first Frozen movie. The costume designers must have had a lot of fun designing the intricate costumes and Elsa and Anna both change clothes lots of times throughout the film. The animators have done some pretty incredible things, from making a horse out of water, to creating a flaming salamander. My favorite part is a funny song Olaf sings about how everything will make sense when he’s older.

 

The message of this film is that when you feel that you’ve lost all hope, you should do the next right thing. Parents should be aware that some beloved characters are in grave danger and young children might be upset by what befalls them. There are some really dark moments when even the usually optimistic Anna thinks all is lost. However, there are some great messages about bravery in the face of danger and doing the right thing despite the cost to yourself.I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 6 to 12 and I believe adults will like it too. You can see Frozen II in theaters everywhere starting November 22, 2019.

 

Frozen II
By Kimbirly O., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror

 

I must admit. I love Disney. I loved the very original Frozen and love Frozen II! The music is captivating, as are the loveable characters we fell in love with when Frozen debuted in 2013. The core characters, Princess Anna (Kristen Bell), Queen Elsa (Idina Menzel), Olaf (Josh Gad), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf and Sven are back and living seemingly normal, happy lives in Arendelle. Olaf ratchets up the comedy and has a plethora of entertaining lines and musical trips down memory lane.

Everyone has grown-up a bit since we last saw the fine people of Arendelle. Kristoff can’t get out of his own way in his desire to propose to Anna and life seems to be merry for all, until a calling is felt by Queen Elsa and the group goes in search of answers in the Enchanted Forest, a forbidden place. Along the way, we meet new characters including Mattias (Sterling K. Brown), Yelana (Martha Plimpton) and Honeymaren (Rachel Matthews). They all have a part as Anna and Elsa’s quest to learn their family history begins and it gets a little dark as many ventures into the past can be.

 

When it comes to music, I predict “Into the Unknown” is going to become this year’s “Let It Go.” I’d be willing to predict the Golden Globe and the Academy Awards nomination for Best Original Song. I also predict Disney will sell millions of iguanas over the holidays. Disney’s sequel to Frozen has a built-in fan base, and the Disney marketing machine partnered with the world to ensure we know the film opens just before Thanksgiving, in plenty of time to entertain the entire family!

 

I give this film 4.5 of 5 stars for its beautiful animation, music and comedy.  I would have loved more character development, especially for the new characters.  This film will appeal to ages 3 to 18.  There is one segment which may appear scary to younger children. Frozen II opens in theaters November 22, 2019. See it!

 

Fighting a Lot of Fires? —– You may be the Arsonist.

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Business
Fighting a Lot of Fires? —– You may be the Arsonist.

To start or to continue receiving the weekly blogs via email, please sign-up using this link: subscribe to Innovative Leadership Institute weekly blog.

This is a guest blog provided by Dr. Michael Colburn. The interview of Aleksandra Scepanovic as well as this blog challenge us to reflect on our leadership skills even in hard times and what we can learn to become a better leader. The interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future with Aleksandra Scepanovic aired on 10/22/19.

Ever have one of those days?  Crises abound and it feels like you are spending most of your time putting out fires?  Action is taken to solve the crisis at hand.  At best, the cost of the crisis is minimized.  However, your time is taken away from the high value activities that you want to work on.  A crisis is an unexpected event that has a cost assigned to it if it is not resolved.  There are crises that are truly unexpected, and we just have to deal with them.  But there are others where we need to ask the question: What are some things that I do that may create or magnify crises?  Here are five tips you may find helpful in preventing the fires from happening in the first place.

Tip 1:  Communicate openly and honestly even when it hurts.
It is not just the issue that makes something important.  It is often the lack of time to respond to the issue.  When a red or yellow flag goes up, it is time to communicate.  The earlier you communicate about a possible crisis, the more time you will have to create alternatives (eg., get help from a colleague, negotiate a time extension).  Your boss or client may not be thrilled, but they will be informed.  The problem is not compounded.  At worst the impact is minimized.  At best the problem may be prevented.  You communicated and accepted responsibility.

Tip 2: Anticipate potential problems and take preventive actions.
When planning for any project, get in the habit of questions like: What could go wrong? What can I do to prevent it from happening? What corrections can I take when a red flag goes up?  Ask colleagues who have had similar projects the sane questions.  Accelerate your learning from yours and others’ experiences.  Build in preventive actions to reduce the risk of crises.  Plan contingent actions to respond quickly to the unexpected.

Tip 3: Make realistic commitments.
Some golfers’ optimism gets them in a lot of trouble.  If I can manage to hit the ball under the limb, curve around the tree and go over the water, I can reach the green.  Some people, like this optimistic golfer make “best case” estimates to the client to make the sale, to impress the boss or to relent to pressure.  The seeds of crises have been sown.  When commitments are not met, excuses are made, and credibility is damaged.  You need to be both realistic and courageous.

Tip 4: Establish regular communications with the boss and clients.
Take the initiative to schedule regular one-on-one meetings with the boss to review progress, agree on priorities and discuss resource needs.  Openness and candor do not often thrive in group settings.  These accountability meetings keep small problems from growing into crises.  Your initiative eases the need for the boss to check up on your projects.  Have similar meetings with your critical internal clients and teammates. One proactive meeting eliminates many reactive ones. 

Tip 5: Continually improve your processes.
Poor processes create crises. We know this at the organizational level, and it is also true at the individual level.  This may include personal planning, project management and communication methods with the boss, teammates and clients.  Look at your key value creating activities and take a step back and describe as if you were going to teach them to someone.  Identify ways to reduce wasted effort an increase the time you spend on the highest value activities.  Be your own lean consultant.

Next Steps
Review the five tips and choose one that resonates with you.  Identify one thing you can do in the next 24 hours to apply this tip to your professional or personal life.  Success breeds success.  Each step you take will enable you to take control of the seemingly uncontrollable.  Let me know how it works at dr.mjcolburn@gmail.com.

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, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Dr. Michael Colburn has built his career on performance improvement at the organization, team and individual levels for a broad range of clients in the private and public sectors for more than 30 years.  He recently retired as an Associate Professor of Management at Ashland University where he taught Organization Development, Operations Management, Strategic Management and Self-Management & Accountability.   Michael has authored numerous papers in academic, professional and trade publications.  His first book, Own Your Job: Five Tools for Self-management and Accountability in the Workplace will help you think more entrepreneurial and teach you self-management skills and increase your performance and influence. Check out more of Michael’s blogs on his website.

Photo by Pixabay.

Sonic Boom, Season 1, Vol. 1 * Sonic the Hedgehog is Back, Funnier than Ever!

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Kids
Sonic Boom, Season 1, Vol. 1 * Sonic the Hedgehog is Back, Funnier than Ever!

It’s a Sonic you haven’t seen before – an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he s up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline. The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.”  Beatrice N. adds, “What do you call a blue hedgehog that is really fast and trying to stop an egghead from taking over the world? Sonic! It’s been a while, but he is back along with all of his friends…and enemies. This show is action-packed, hilarious with some dad jokes and just overall fun.” Leandro R. wraps it up with, “Sonic Boom is a really good cartoon filled with funny jokes and adventure. It is based off of the Sonic video games and turns it into an ensemble comedy. It pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline and excitement.” See their full reviews below.

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Sonic Boom, Season 1, Vol. 1
Ethan P., KIDSFIRST!, Film Critic, Age 11

 

https://youtu.be/yIGOI5IRsd4

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline.

 

Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 1, is over four hours of action, fun and entertainment.  The package comes with two DVDs that include 26 episodes.  Each disk is 145 minutes.  Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) is a blue hedgehog who has a sidekick, Tails, who helps him in his adventures.  Sonic’s friends – Knuckles (Sebastian Desjours), Amy (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) –  help him attack his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock).  Each episode has a different story line.  It does not follow a sequence, which it means that each episode is always a different adventure and that’s what makes it so entertaining.

 

The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.  The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy.  My favorite episode is The Meteor when Sonic and Dr. Eggman switch their brains and body accidentally.  They touch a meteor and then their brains and bodies are switched.  Dr. Eggman becomes Sonic and Sonic becomes Dr. Eggman. Dr. Eggman tries to act like he really is Sonic and tries to trick Sonic’s friends so he can destroy them and he can rule the world, since he is now a genius and super fast.  My other favorite episode is Double Doomsday.  In this episode a kid meets Dr. Eggman and the kid gets mad at Dr. Eggman, because he makes the kid do chores.  The kid makes a doomsday device to destroy the world.  He tells Dr. Eggman that his doomsday device is going to do more damage and they start competing against each other to destroy the world.

 

The moral to the stories is about team work making the dream work, because in each episode Sonic is helped by his sidekick and best friends to either defeat Dr. Eggman or to enjoy their different adventures.

 

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, but adults can watch it with their kids and may find it amusing.  This disk is definitely worth four hours.  Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 1, is available now, so look for it!

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Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1

By Beatrice Nail, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

https://youtu.be/5c_pbieaphE

What do you call a blue hedgehog that is really fast and trying to stop an egghead from taking over the world? Sonic! It’s been a while, but he is back along with all of his friends…and enemies. This show is action-packed, hilarious with some dad jokes and just overall fun. Each episode also has some kind of moral or message at the end. I watched the Limited-Edition DVD Gift Set that comes with a DVD of over four hours of action- and adventure-filled episodes, plus it includes Sonic and Dr. Eggman pose-able action figures. But let’s just do this, shall we?

 

We enter the animal world of Sonic Boom, with all of its strange buildings and characters that are actually animals. We are first faced with a problem, which is usually Sonic’s responsibility to solve, and which always involves his nemesis Dr. Eggman. Along with help from his friends, Sonic uses his super speed to save the day. Let’s meet a few of Sonic’s friends! There is Amy, a pink hedgehog, who uses her giant pink and yellow hammer to defeat Dr. Eggman. There is Knuckles who uses his super strength, and of course his knuckles, to take down Dr. Eggman. Finally, there is Sticks, who uses her boomerang to help Sonic win each battle with Dr. Eggman.

 

It all takes place in Sonic’s strange village and Dr. Eggman’s evil lair. The series is directed by Natalys Raut Sieuzac and Sonic is voiced by Roger Craig Smith. Sonic is a mischievous blue hedgehog. He can sometimes get a little overprotective of his friend Tails, a cute fox who loves making gadgets that are actually helpful, unlike Dr. Eggman’s scary but silly inventions. Dr. Eggman is a true blockhead who sees himself as a genius, even though he is not at all clever. Amy is a true peacemaker who can’t stand it when her friends fight, but gladly helps fight Dr. Eggman. Knuckles is well… pretty much a dingbat. He often believes anything he hears and he hears a lot of those unbelievable things from Sticks. No, not a twig! Her name is Sticks and she is way too wild and crazy.Get on board with Sonic and his friends because every episode is a new, supersonic adventure! The message of this series is to always help your friends and sometimes your enemies too.

 

Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This DVD is available now, so look for it.Sonic4 (1).jpg

Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1

By Leandro Ramirez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

https://youtu.be/N1pACe7_HEo

 

Sonic Boom is a really good cartoon filled with funny jokes and adventure. It is based off of the Sonic video games and turns it into an ensemble comedy. It pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline and excitement. The animation is great also.The storyline follows Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Sticks who defend Seaside Island from various threats such as Dr. Eggman and his robotic creations. Wherever Sonic goes, his friends are always there to help him. Dr. Eggman always creates robotic things and tries to defeat Sonic with them, but he always fails.

 

In the video game, Sonic did not speak, but Robert Craig Smith gives life to the character and makes him awesome. The director, Bob Rafei, made this animated series great. The writer, Ian Flynn, wrote a great and comedic script too.The message of Sonic Boom is to always have fun in what you’re doing. Whenever they fight Dr. Eggman, they are always telling jokes and having fun. Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 10. This DVD is available now so look for it.

 

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness – Unique and Unexpected with a Spiral of Surprises!

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Kids
Little Wolf’s Book of Badness – Unique and Unexpected with a Spiral of Surprises!

All Little Wolf wants to do is stay at home with Mum, Dad and his brother, Smellybreff. However, Mum and Dad are worried that their precious son, Little Wolf, is not as bad as a small wolf should be. So they decide to send him off to Cunning College in Frettnin Forest to learn the Nine Rules of Badness from his Uncle Bigbad. Uncle Bigbad is a hopeless teacher, but armed with determination and native wit, Little Wolf thinks things out for himself. Sent out by his Uncle to round up a troop of boy scouts to eat for supper, Little Wolf discovers that the scouts have many useful skills that Little Wolf can learn from them. In the end, Little Wolf decides not to follow outdated rules of proper wolf behavior but to be true to himself.As a result, he inherits his Uncle’s fortune and becomes master of Cunning College.

Little Wolf meets Uncle Bigbad.jpg

Based on a world-famous series of best-selling Little Wolf storybooks, this one-off is a treat for the whole family! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sahiba K. comments, “With its spiral of surprises, I never could predict what would happen in the next scene. The story also puts a twist on common fairy tales such as Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood.” Dariana A. adds, “Little Wolf’s Book of Badness is a very odd type of film. It’s not your typical Dora the Explorer type of kids’ show, which is good because there are too many of those types of shows out there.” Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult reviewer wraps it up with, “! I love the fact that this is a little story where we actively see a child decide who they want to be and being so proud of themselves. This is the kind of feel-good story that every child needs to watch.” See their full reviews below.

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness
By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness, directed by Karsten Kiilerich, is unique and unexpected! With its spiral of surprises, I never could predict what would happen in the next scene. The story also puts a twist on common fairy tales such as Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood. The story follows Little Wolf (Alexander Pownall), who is not bad enough for his family. So his Mum (Lucy Whybrow) and Dad (Richard Hope) send him on a journey to Cunning College to learn from his Uncle Bigbad how to be a true bad wolf. On his quest, he learns the ‘Nine Rules of Badness.’Alexander Pownall, the voice actor for Little Wolf, creates personality through his voice. His voice is high, making it sound like that of a young child. As Little Wolf ventures through the woods to reach Cunning College, I heard the fear in his voice and sympathized with him. When he writes letters back to his family and reads them, I heard the unwillingness to be where he was and the sense of defeat just through his voice. Michael Gambon, voice actor for Uncle Bigbad, has terror in his voice that gave me goose bumps. For example, when he is first introduced and he speaks, I knew Little Wolf was going to have a tough timein Cunning College.The animation is dark but appealing. It sets the tone of the movie as it reflects Little Wolf’s feelings. For example, when Little Wolf feels that his trip was a waste of time and nothing good will come out of his journey, the scenery is dark, it is raining and there are shadowy clouds looming above him. The costume designs add to the personalities of each character. For example, Little Wolf has simple clothes that are similar to a schoolboy’s outfit, reflecting what his purpose is in the movie. Uncle Bigbad wears a grey suit,
with a yellow shirt and blue tie which reflects his personality as an evil wolf but also one who has the potential to have color or goodness in his life.My favorite part of this show is the animation. The type of animation that is used made me feel as if I was watching my own imagination. The message here is that goodness will always outshine darkness. I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 15. This is available on DVD now so check it out.

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness By Dariana A., KIDS FIRST Film Critics, age 11

Little Wolf’s Book of Badness is a very odd type of film. It’s not your typical Dora the Explorer type of kids’ show, which is good because there are too many of those types of shows out there. This is a story and a good story at that. It teaches kids through a wolf who is supposed to be bad, but wants to be good.The storyline is about Little Wolf who just wants to stay at home with his family, but his parents don’t thinkhe’s bad enough to live up to the Wolf family name. So, they send Little Wolf to Cunning College to learn the Nine Rules of Badness from his Uncle Big Bad. But it turns out Uncle Big Bad isn’t such an amazing teacher after all.As I said, the show is pretty great. The animation is wiggles a bit, even when they are standing still. This is probably intended, but it is kind of distracting. One of the things I really like about this show is its plot and the simple way it shows the lessons they are trying to teach without even saying so. This is what makes it a different type of kids’ film. It is also very slow paced. There isn’t very much action. One thing I wondered about the whole time is why Little Wolf always sneezes when he’s around Mr. Twister. Is he allergic? Michael Gambon, the voice talent for Big Bad is really cool. David Thewlis voices Mr. Twister, which is pretty awesome. I know and like both Gamgon and Thewlis from the Harry Potter films. Another thing I really enjoyed about this film is how scary they make Big Bad. I really was kind of scared when the character Big Bad came on and yelled at Little Wolf. That is probably my favorite scene because it really shows who Big Bad truly is.The message this film teaches is that, even if you’re bad or scary, that doesn’t mean that you are happy. Irate this film 4 out of 5 stars because it has a cool, different way of teaching kids. I recommend this film for ages 2 to 6. This film is available now on DVD so, go check it out.

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Little Wolf’s Book of Badness
By Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer

This is one of the absolutely cutest stories I have ever seen. I have read several of the short stories that spawned this movie and loved all of them. In this Little Wolf Adventure, his family is concerned that perhaps Little Wolf isn’t as big, bad and tough as he should be. Their reaction to
this is shipping him off to Cunning College to learn the Nine Rules of Badness from his Uncle Bigbad, whom is voiced perfectly by Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter film series). During his time at the college he continuously struggles with the ideas of being such a bad wolf, but at the same time he just wants to make his family proud. At one point his uncle gives him the terrible task of fetching some unsuspecting boy scouts to gobble up. Little Wolf sees all of these things that the scouts do and decides he wants to learn to do all of these amazing things himself. He may not be a bad wolf, but he sure is a big wolf now! I love the fact that this is a little story where we actively see a child decide who they want to be and being so proud of themselves. This is the kind of feel good story that every child needs to watch. This is great for ages 7 to 11 and I give it 5 out of 5 stars for being so cutely inspirational. Reviewed by Rachael V., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juro

 

Gratitude through the Flames

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Empowerment
Gratitude through the Flames

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Miracle Moment®

“The difference between a good life and a bad life is how well you walk through the fire.” Carl Jung, psychologist



MESSAGE FROM CYNTHIA BRIAN, Founder/Executive Director

 

cynthia brian-India mustardOctober was a frightening and challenging month for residents of California. Rampant power black outs and raging fires throughout the state required thousands of people to evacuate their homes. After producing our radio broadcasts, I went to bed on a Wednesday night and  at 2:15 am, my husband and I were awoken by firefighters pounding on our door shouting “evacuate now!” We were given 60 seconds to leave as the fire was flaming near our fence less than 100 feet away. Feeling immense gratitude for surviving the inferno, I quickly penned what I had learned during that frantic flee: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1317/One-Minute-to-Evacuate-a-personal-perspective-from-the-Oct-10-fire.html .

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November is the month to express our thanks. First responders deserve major credit and gratitude for saving property and lives. Both fire and police personnel have been working tirelessly throughout California during these unprecedented times.

Climate change is rapidly fueling natural disasters. Be the Star You Are!® continues to spearhead Operation Disaster Relief and we encourage you to contribute. No longer can we start a campaign only when tragedy strikes. Disasters have become a part of daily life and Be the Star You Are!® must be ready to assist at a moments notice.  All donations are greatly appreciated to help us help those in need. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504.

Or send a check to BTSYA, PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556. Give to this favorite 501(c)(3) and receive a deduction on your 2019 taxes if you itemize.

The power black outs continued throughout the month and it may be wise to take the steps to be self-sufficient or off the grid as we are living in a new environment. I’ve published two important articles for the newspaper where I work to help others know how to prepare for an emergency. Make sure to read these as they may save your life and that of your family and friends. Send these links to those you love to help them prepare for whatever disaster lurks in our future.

Safety first: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Safety-First-Emergency-Preparation-and-the-Go-Bag.html

Scary, scary night: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

As we prepare for the holiday season of gifts and giving, we want to introduce you to books that will inspire and thrill you. Make sure to check out our Spotlight book, I am Me, a powerful book by teens with original art and poetry expressing the importance of being your authentic self. Also, order copies of our three signature books in the Be the Star You Are!® series for true stories, adages, and exercises to help you live, laugh, learn, and love more fully with 100% of the profits benefiting this charity. Giving Tuesday is December 3rd this year, so please mark your calendar and ask your company to match your donation.

Thank you to everyone for your patience, understanding, checking in, and love. We are very appreciative. Be safe and sound. Let’s hope no one has to walk through the fire to have a great life,

“Communicate, Collaborate, Innovate!”  Join us! Thanksgiving is TODAY and EVERYDAY!

Blessings and Gratitude,

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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RECOGNITION FOR 20 YEARS OF SERVICE:

20th Ca. legislature Honor for BTSYARecently, we received a lovely letter and Certificate of Recognition from the California Legislature congratulating Be the Star You Are!® on 20 years of service to the community. What an unexpected honor for which we are grateful to Assembly member, Rebecca Bauer-Kahan . We share this commendation with all of our dedicated volunteers and supporters. With your assistance, Be the Star You Are!® continues its imperative mission to empower women, families, and youth through increased literacy, positive media messages, and tools for living.

20th letter-Ca. legislature Honor for BTSYA


SPOTLIGHT on the teen book, I AM ME

spotlightI Am Me: Teen Artists and Writers Speak Out on Being Yourself 

This is a powerful book that helps young people believe that you don’t have to achieve “perfection” to be “perfect.”

“Edgy, powerful, insightful, and honest.” 

The pages in this book pairs award winning art and writing to empower teens to shake off negative influences to realize it is okay to be themselves. Each piece of art is skillfully matched with writing to reflect the attitude of a generation of teens who want to fit in but feel inadequate due to societal pressures.

www.i-am-me-teen.com or order on Amazon.

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Listen to Editor, Tom Worthen, Ph.d interviewed on Express Yourself! Teen Radio about this poignant message. https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/118745/optimism-with-i-am-me

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SUCCESS AT PEAR AND WINE FESTIVAL

Our Teen Event Director, Siri Phaneendra, did a fabulous job of putting on the BTSYA booth at the recent Pear and Wine Festival. Her mother and sister helped her with the new henna activity. Express Yourself!® radio hosts Kenneth Jeon and Jack Pawlakos were on hand to work in the booth. Thanks to Lamorinda Weekly newspaper for sponsorship and lending us the great canopy. What a fantastic family day of fun!

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BTSYA is a TOP NON PROFIT for 2019

2019-top-rated-awards-badge-embedWe have been honored with a Top-Rated Award for 2019 from GreatNonprofits! We appreciate all of your contributions! http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/


RADIO BROADCASTS TO INSPIRE

Dr Dravon James-EvdyPeaceCynthia Brian was thrilled and honored to be a guest on Dr. Davon James LIVE radio broadcast on Veteran’s Day focusing on passion. Cynthia and Dr. James share how everyone can create success by living and working with passion. You are enough! Listen now! https://www.unityonlineradio.org/everyday-peace/living-and-working-your-passion

Express Yourself!® Teen Radio host Henna Hundal (also host of syndicated The Henna Hundal Show) facilitated an impressive broadcast about the critical importance of mentorship and coaching. Nicholas Donzelli, a ten year veteran of volunteering coaching of an award winning water polo team shared his insights along with Be the Star You Are!® founder and StarStyle® coach, Cynthia Brian. Having a coach and/or mentor in your life can help you launch your dreams. Be authentic. Tune in https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/118595/mentoring-with-henna-hundal-nick-donzelli-and-cynthia-brian

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Bill Gates and Henna Hundal  Malala Yousafzai and Henna Hundal


GIVING TUESDAY IS DECEMBER 3, 2019 

2019-platinum-seal-guidestarGivingTuesday​ started as a day for anyone, anywhere to give, and it’s grown into the biggest giving movement in the world. Celebrated each year on the Tuesday following U.S. Thanksgiving, and fueled by the power of social media, GivingTuesday inspires millions of people across the globe to show up and give back to causes and issues that matter to them. The goal is to create a massive wave of generosity that lasts well beyond that day, and touches every person on the planet. GivingTuesday takes place on December 3, 2019 this year. Create a fundraiser and ask your employer to match donations. Be the Star You Are!® will use your contributions for our ongoing outreach programs, disaster relief, and positive message radio broadcasts. Donations can be made to Be the Star You Are! via PAYPAL GIVING FUND with no fees. https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504. You will receive an instant tax receipt.

Then, continue being kind and doing good all year round.


VISIT WITH SANTA IS DECEMBER 14th

2018 Xmas with Santa-5A 2Mark your calendars for a jolly journey to the north pole on December 14th.  Be the Star You Are!® volunteers once again collaborate with 5 A Rent a Space in Moraga to bring Santa and his elves to the neighborhood. Kids can write a letter to Mr. Claus, get a FREE photo sitting on his lap, get creative with festive art projects, and enjoy hot chocolate and special treats. Holiday cards and books will be available for sale as a donation to BTSYA. The event is FREE for the entire family. 11am-3pm. Come enjoy holiday cheer with all of us.


HOW DO YOU THANK SOMEONE?

By Karen Kitchel

You know the feeling deep within. Someone just came to your door with a basket of warm cookies because they know you’re having a tough day.  You narrowly escape your burning home while a firefighter goes back in to save your puppy. Or maybe it was a stranger who picked up all the spilled candy that your little darling scattered on the supermarket floor.

Sometimes we wish we had a word much stronger than “thanks” to convey our heartfelt appreciation.  Perhaps by adding a sincere look or a tap on the arm, we can transfer our feelings of gratitude.

What else can we do to say thanks?  I once gave a co-worker a post-it note with a word of thanks, and ten years later she told me it still could be seen on her refrigerator. Think back to a time when you really felt thanked for something you said or did.  Why do you still remember that feeling?

While we celebrate one special day of giving thanks this month, we can enjoy the power of thanking someone every day.

BTSYA volunteer Karen Kitchel serves meals to the homeless, is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. She wrote the chapter, The Gift of Adoption, in our book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World. www.scatteringkindness.com

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SHOPPING FOR THE HOLIDAYS?  ENJOY DISCOUNTS & MORE

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Other easy ways that assist our mission and don’t cost you a penny!

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

2. Discounted books at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash back at 3500+ popular online stores, then donate a percentage to BTSYA:https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

& buy from your favorite stores.

4. Search and Shop: Choose Be the Star You Are as your charity to support. You can log in with Facebook, too!http://www.goodsearch.com/goodto-go/be-the-star-you-are

5. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

6. BTSYA Logo Storehttp://btsya.rylees.net

7. Buy or Sell on EBAY:http://givingworks.ebay.com/charity-auctions/charity/be-the-star-you-are-501-c-3/1504/?favorite=link

8. Designer Clothes to Buy or Sell: https://www.unionandfifth.com/charities/be-the-star-you-are-moraga-ca/shop

9. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” T-shirts and tanks $19.99 at StarStyle® Store: https://www.CynthiaBrian.com/online-store

10. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4

We appreciate a direct donation most of all via PAYPAL GIVING FUND at https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Checks can be sent to PO Box 376, Moraga, California 94556

Direct Links you can use for Be the Star You Are!®

Positive Results: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/positive-results

About Us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/about_us

Programs: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/programs

How to Help: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/how-to-help

Blog: https://www.bethestaryouare.org/blog-1

Events: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/events

Contact us: http://www.bethestaryouare.org/contact

GREAT NON PROFITS REVIEWS: http://greatnonprofits.org/reviews/be-the-star-you-are-inc/

GUIDESTAR: https://www.guidestar.org/profile/94-3333882

We invite you to volunteer, get involved, or make a donation. Make a DONATION through PAYPAL GIVING FUND and PAYPAL with 100% going to BTSYA with NO FEES:  https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

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If you’d like to advertise your service or product while supporting Be the Star You Are!®, we are now accepting approved ads that will benefit readers. Contact info@BetheStarYouAre.org for details.


A NOTE WE LOVED!

”I admire you because despite your fears you face destiny as a beast and manage to reverse the worst situation. You don’t believe in dramatic forecasts and wake up every morning wanting to give the world the best. Thank you!” Nico Ficarelli, Decendiente de Manuel Creador De Argentina

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556

Cynthia@BetheStarYouAre.org

https://www.BetheStarYouAre.org

http://www.BTSYA.org

All donations are 100% Tax Deductible according to law. Thank you!

https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

Happy Day of Thanksgiving! 

 
We Appreciate you!

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See all: http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/672296/fe82bef3f1/288055965/ac7221bc2f/

 

Sonic Boom, Season 1, Vol. 1 * Sonic the Hedgehog is Back, Funnier than Ever!

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Kids
Sonic Boom, Season 1, Vol. 1 * Sonic the Hedgehog is Back, Funnier than Ever!

 

It’s a Sonic you haven’t seen before – an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever he s up against, Sonic the Hedgehog is aided by his sidekick, Tails, and his friends Knuckles, Amy, and Sticks and, of course, attacked by his arch nemesis, Dr. Eggman. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ethan P. comments, “I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline. The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.”  Beatrice N. adds, “What do you call a blue hedgehog that is really fast and trying to stop an egghead from taking over the world? Sonic! It’s been a while, but he is back along with all of his friends…and enemies. This show is action-packed, hilarious with some dad jokes and just overall fun.” Leandro R. wraps it up with, “Sonic Boom is a really good cartoon filled with funny jokes and adventure. It is based off of the Sonic video games and turns it into an ensemble comedy. It pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline and excitement.” See their full reviews below.

 

Sonic Boom, Season 1, Vol. 1
Ethan P., KIDSFIRST!, Film Critic, Age 11

 

https://youtu.be/yIGOI5IRsd4

 

I like this DVD because it is very entertaining.  Each story line is funny; it has a lot of action and delivers a lot of adrenaline.

 

Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 1, is over four hours of action, fun and entertainment.  The package comes with two DVDs that include 26 episodes.  Each disk is 145 minutes.  Sonic (Roger Craig Smith) is a blue hedgehog who has a sidekick, Tails, who helps him in his adventures.  Sonic’s friends – Knuckles (Sebastian Desjours), Amy (Cindy Robinson) and Sticks (Nika Futterman) –  help him attack his arch nemesis Dr. Eggman (Mike Pollock).  Each episode has a different story line.  It does not follow a sequence, which it means that each episode is always a different adventure and that’s what makes it so entertaining.

 

The graphics are amazing and the colors are very bright.  The voice-overs are funny and they fit each character.  The music is okay. I especially like the theme song, which is very catchy.  My favorite episode is The Meteor when Sonic and Dr. Eggman switch their brains and body accidentally.  They touch a meteor and then their brains and bodies are switched.  Dr. Eggman becomes Sonic and Sonic becomes Dr. Eggman. Dr. Eggman tries to act like he really is Sonic and tries to trick Sonic’s friends so he can destroy them and he can rule the world, since he is now a genius and super fast.  My other favorite episode is Double Doomsday.  In this episode a kid meets Dr. Eggman and the kid gets mad at Dr. Eggman, because he is makes the kid do chores.  The kid makes a doomsday device to destroy the world.  He tells Dr. Eggman that his doomsday device is going to do more damage and they start competing against each other to destroy the world.Sonic2.jpg

 

The moral to the stories is about team work making the dream work, because in each episode Sonic is helped by his sidekick and best friends to either defeat Dr. Eggman or to enjoy their different adventures.

 

I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 18, but adults can watch it with their kids and may find it amusing.  This disk is definitely worth four hours.  Sonic Boom, Season 1, Volume 1, is available now, so look for it!

 

Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1

By Beatrice Nail, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

 

What do you call a blue hedgehog that is really fast and trying to stop an egghead from taking over the world? Sonic! It’s been a while, but he is back along with all of his friends…and enemies. This show is action-packed, hilarious with some dad jokes and just overall fun. Each episode also has some kind of moral or message at the end. I watched the Limited-Edition DVD Gift Set that comes with a DVD of over four hours of action- and adventure-filled episodes, plus it includes Sonic and Dr. Eggman pose-able action figures. But let’s just do this, shall we?

 

We enter the animal world of Sonic Boom, with all of its strange buildings and characters that are actually animals. We are first faced with a problem, which is usually Sonic’s responsibility to solve, and which always involves his nemesis Dr. Eggman. Along with help from his friends, Sonic uses his super speed to save the day. Let’s meet a few of Sonic’s friends! There is Amy, a pink hedgehog, who uses her giant pink and yellow hammer to defeat Dr. Eggman. There is Knuckles who uses his super strength, and of course his knuckles, to take down Dr. Eggman. Finally, there is Sticks, who uses her boomerang to help Sonic win each battle with Dr. Eggman.

 

It all takes place in Sonic’s strange village and Dr. Eggman’s evil lair. The series is directed by Natalys Raut Sieuzac and Sonic is voiced by Roger Craig Smith. Sonic is a mischievous blue hedgehog. He can sometimes get a little overprotective of his friend Tails, a cute fox who loves making gadgets that are actually helpful, unlike Dr. Eggman’s scary but silly inventions. Dr. Eggman is a true blockhead who sees himself as a genius, even though he is not at all clever. Amy is a true peacemaker who can’t stand it when her friends fight, but gladly helps fight Dr. Eggman. Knuckles is well… pretty much a dingbat. He often believes anything he hears and he hears a lot of those unbelievable things from Sticks. No, not a twig! Her name is Sticks and she is way too wild and crazy.

 

Get on board with Sonic and his friends because every episode is a new, supersonic adventure! The message of this series is to always help your friends and sometimes your enemies too.

 

Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 4 to 12. This DVD is available now, so look for it.

 

Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1

By Leandro Ramirez, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

 

Sonic Boom is a really good cartoon filled with funny jokes and adventure. It is based off of the Sonic video games and turns it into an ensemble comedy. It pokes fun at action-adventure storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline and excitement. The animation is great also.

 

The storyline follows Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Sticks who defend Seaside Island from various threats such as Dr. Eggman and his robotic creations. Wherever Sonic goes, his friends are always there to help him. Dr. Eggman always creates robotic things and tries to defeat Sonic with them, but he always fails.

 

In the video game, Sonic did not speak, but Robert Craig Smith gives life to the character and makes him awesome. The director, Bob Rafei, made this animated series great. The writer, Ian Flynn, wrote a great and comedic script too.

 

The message of Sonic Boom is to always have fun in what you’re doing. Whenever they fight Dr. Eggman, they are always telling jokes and having fun. Sonic Boom: Season 1, Volume 1 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 10. This DVD is available now so look for it.

 

Starry, Scary Night

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Empowerment
Starry, Scary Night

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“Starry, starry night

Flaming flowers that brightly blaze

Swirling clouds in violet haze.” Don McLean

In 1889, post-impressionist, Vincent Van Gogh, painted one of his most memorable paintings, The Starry Night, as he looked out of his asylum east window. On October 10, 2019, when I looked out our east window, the starry night was aglow with flames and they were not the brightly blaze of flaming flowers. Normally, I look forward to the month October because of the frivolity of Halloween. Costumes, candy, scarecrows, black cats, ghosts, ghouls, jack o ’lanterns, and trick or treating offer children a scary evening of amusement. It was a scary, scary night, but it was not Halloween.

The power was off and a fire erupted racing down the hill to a neighborhood fast asleep. Firefighters were swift and efficient evacuating the community and containing the inferno. Police officers assisted in maintaining peace and safety. Fortunately, all structures were saved and no injuries were incurred, thanks to the professional first responders. Gardens and landscapes survived the blaze with only a few fences being torched. 

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What homeowners need to know to be more fire-safe:

The area where I live in Northern California is rural, wooded, with minimal escape routes. Many of the plants and trees growing throughout our area are highly flammable including pines, cypress, cedar, fir, bamboo, acacia, juniper, Pampas grass, rosemary, ivy, arborvitae, miscanthus, and eucalyptus. Coyote brush, although moderately fire-resistant when it is young and green, is highly combustible as it grows. It depends on fires to regenerate and grows everywhere in our hills.  All of these plants need to be removed or carefully supervised. Since heat moves up, fire speed and severity is stronger on slopes where vegetation management is crucial.

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Autumn is a prime time to prepare your landscaping for the next season and create a defensible space around your property. A defensible space is an area around a structure that has been cleared of ignitable debris and botanicals that may cause a public safety hazard. No plant is fireproof. Under the right conditions, every plant will burn, especially those that are drought-stressed or not maintained.  A “fire-safe” plant means that it tends not to be a significant fuel source in itself with a chemical composition that resists heat and combustion. It is critical to keep plants around our homes well tended and pruned as a fire protection tool. The closer plants are to the house, the more care is needed. Every homeowner is responsible for managing their vegetation to meet Fire District requirements. 

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Neighborhoods are encouraged to form a committee to receive advice from local fire professionals on how to be Fire Wise. Being Fire Wise is dependent on the diligence of everyone in a neighborhood to keep property fire safe. Fires do not honor property lines. All properties become indefensible when one neighbor has overgrown bushes, brush, or low hanging trees.

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What makes flora highly flammable?

  • ϖ Dry and dead leaves, twigs, branches
  • ϖ Abundant, dense foliage
  • ϖ Needles
  • ϖ Low moisture foliage
  • ϖ Peeling, loose bark
  • ϖ Gummy sap
  • ϖ Leathery or aromatic leaves
  • ϖ Content of terpene, oils, or resin
  • ϖ Dry uncut grasses

What makes flora reasonably fire-resistant?

  • ϖ Hardy, slow-growing plants that don’t produce litter or thatch.
  • ϖ Drought tolerant natives with internal high water content. Generally, but not always, California natives are more tolerant of fire and deer.
  • ϖ Trees with thick bark that restrict the growth of invasive shrub species and hardwood trees such as walnut, cherry, maple, and poplar are less flammable. Deciduous trees and shrubs are more fire resistant because they have higher moisture content when in leaf, lower fuel volume when dormant, and usually do not contain flammable oils.
  • ϖ Supple, moist leaves with little to no sap or resin residue.
  • ϖ Low growing ground covers.
  • ϖ Bulbs with dried leaves cut to the ground.

What can you do now to create a more fire-resistant landscape?

  • ϖ Include pavers, bricks, pavement, gravel, rocks, dry creek beds, fountains, ponds, pools, and lawns. 
  • ϖ Select high moisture plants that grow close to the ground with a low sap and resin content
  • ϖ Plant the right plant in the correct location. Leave space between plants.
  • ϖ Minimize the inclusion of evergreen trees within thirty feet of structures. Clear the understory. Keep trees twenty feet away from chimneys. 
  • ϖ Remove invasive species or swaths of flammable plants including ivy, rosemary, broom, coyote brush, chamise, and juniper.
  • ϖ Keep mulch moist. Create zones of rock, brick, or gravel. Bark and leaves are not mulches recommended near structures.
  • ϖ Prune trees 6-10 feet above the ground to hinder fire laddering.
  • ϖ Keep appropriate clearance to reduce the threat of burning embers from decorative features such as gazebos, fences, sheds, porches, and junk areas.  
  • ϖ Irrigate and maintain all flora, lawns, and hillsides. Clover, groundcovers, and grasses that are kept low and green are excellent alternatives. 
  • ϖ Due to soil erosion, bare ground is not recommended.
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Having had warning of the looming PGE blackout, I had deeply irrigated my entire garden and hillside. An alert from EBMUD instructed that in a power outage, water must be used judiciously, so as a pre-emptive measure, I watered my landscape thoroughly, soaking the grass, shrubs, mulch, trees, and fences. Throughout the summer, thrice, I had weed-whacked the tall grass surrounding my property and that of neighbors, pruned low hanging tree branches, and a week before the fire I had, thankfully, cut the dry perennials to the ground. These are steps I encourage all homeowners to undertake. Maintaining our landscaping is a never-ending task mandatory for both our pleasure and protection. 

Let’s participate in keeping the fire-breathing dragon away! Enjoy a safe and scary evening of Trick or Treating under the starry skies!

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Happy Halloween!

Read more: https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1318/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Scary-scary-night.html

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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. 

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Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

Buy a copy of her books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. 

 

cyntha brian with books.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

 

A Time and a Season

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Empowerment
A Time and a Season

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 “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1

With the power disruptions and fire fears of October in our rearview mirrors, we welcome November with open arms and grateful hearts. It won’t be long before the rains arrive. Driving or walking throughout the region, we witness a marvelous display of fall foliage as leaves on many deciduous trees turn from green to saffron to tangerine to crimson before dropping to the ground. 

Time to fertilize heavily. In autumn, plants quit sending minerals and water to leaves and blooms. The nutrients are instead directed to increase the roots while storing food for the winter months.  We witness the foliage color change to our great delight .

When you fertilize at this time of year, you’ll be feeding your trees, shrubs, plants, and lawns. This dormant feeding is crucial for the success of your garden for the following seasons.  The roots are busy storing nourishment even though the above-ground growth has halted. It’s best to do this heavy feeding after the first rain to assist the fertilizer to go deeper into the ground. The soil is still warm and will soak up the fertilizer. 

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Time to feed lawns. Lawns especially need fertilizing now. The blade growth has slowed, a signal that roots are digging deeper. Gradually start mowing your lawn shorter and fertilize heavily to prepare the grass for the long cold months ahead. There is still time to aerate if your clay soil is compacted. After the first rain is a good time to re-seed grass or install new sod. Make a personal batch of grass patch by mixing a bag of potting soil in a wheelbarrow with enough lawn seed until you see 20 or more seeds per handful. Scratch or till any bare patches, scatter the seed over the fresh soil, rake lightly, water, and wait for the seedlings to sprout. Keep the area damp until grass is established. Do not let it dry out.

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Time to prune dead branches and rake leaves. No plant or tree is fireproof. 

Dead branches, dry leaves, and grasses are highly flammable. Reduce fuel laddering by pruning trees 6-10 feet from the ground and several feet from roofs. A person should be able to walk under a tree without being hit by a branch. Clean out your gutters, eaves, porches, and decks. 

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Time to watch for rodents and skunks. It’s mating season for rodents and skunks. The recent fires have impacted wildlife movement allowing animals to migrate closer to residential development, including a plethora of rats. Vector Control Inspector, Joe Cleope, alerted me about the new procedures and protocols instigated in the district. Many people don’t know that Vector Control is a free service. If you have a question or concern, please visit the website for assistance. https://www.contracostamosquito.com.

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Time to plant garlic. Vampires may not like garlic, but foodies do! Planting just a dozen cloves will yield you a harvest of more than 120 cloves. A bulb has several cloves to break apart before planting in a sunny location in rich, well-drained soil. Put the pointy side up and the flat side down, cover the cloves with a layer of mulch, and they will multiply forming a new bulb. Harvesting will be late summer when the tops have yellowed. You can then tie or braid the stalks or cut the leaves above the bulb. Always save a large bulb for the next year of planting.

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Time to harvest and eat pineapple guavas. Called feijoa, the fruit is self-harvesting. It falls from the tree when ripe, however, you can also pick the fruit. When cut, a fully ripened feijoa will have clear-colored jellied sections. If not ripe, put in a brown paper bag for a few days with an apple. Scoop out the sweet/tart jelly and eat raw or make jams, sauces, glazes, or add to salads. The perfume from the fruit is as delicious as the fruit!

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Time to cut hydrangea blossoms. If you enjoy drying the flowers of hydrangeas, November is a perfect month to do so. If not, once the flowers fade, cut back the stems to encourage new growth.

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Time to plant succulents. Succulents are drought and fire-resistant. Many boast beautiful flowers, unique shapes, and striped striations. Planting a selection in one designated area presents a bigger impact of form, texture, and color.

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Time for final grape harvesting. The crops of grapes have come to season’s end.  If you still have bunches hanging on the vine, take the opportunity to cut them to refrigerate or dehydrate. Use the red-hued leaves in your autumn decorations and place settings.

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Time to give thanks. We all have so much for which to be grateful. As Thanksgiving nears, take time to express your appreciation for the blessings and gifts you have received. Remember the people in your life that have been there for you on all occasions…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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To everything there is a season and now is the time to turn, turn, turn. 

Happy gardening. Happy growing. 

Photos and More: http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1319/Cynthia-Brians-Gardening-Guide-for-November-A-time-to-plant-a-time-to-reap.html

cynthia at pismo beach against Tuff rock.jpg

Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, raised in the vineyards of Napa County, 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.

Buy a copy of her books, Growing with the Goddess Gardener and Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers at www.StarStyleStore.net

Cynthia Brian books banner.jpg

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

Cynthia@GoddessGardener.com

www.GoddessGardener.com

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