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Never Too Late Blog

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Health & Wellness
Never Too Late Blog

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Never Too Late: Research Now Finds that Increasing Exercise at Any Time Can Increase Lifespan: Join the Livingto100.Club

The notion that it’s never too late to shift toward healthier behaviors gets another boost with research findings from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.  Smoking cessation, dietary modifications, a change in outlook, and other strategies can prove to be beneficial on our mental and physical well-being, promote successful aging, and increase longevity, regardless of how late in life these changes are adopted.  Now, a study in the British Medical Journal is showing that it is never too late to reap the benefits of a longer life just by adding exercise to our daily routine, or increasing the intensity of our usual routine.  Strikingly, the benefits included reduced mortality risk from cancer and cardiovascular disease.

The study followed over 14,000 men and women, aged 40 to 79, for anywhere from 7 to 12.5 years, monitoring lifestyle and risk factors (education level, employment status, diet, alcohol, smoking, BP), as well as changes in medical history.  The researchers looked at physical activity and sedentary habits.  Throughout the follow-up period, approximately 2,000 participants died from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  After controlling for pre-existing activity levels, the authors concluded that over time, high levels of physical activity correlated with a lower mortality risk.  More striking, though, was the finding that modest increases in exercise correlated with a 29% lower risk of cardiovascular disease and an 11% lower risk of dying from cancer.  The authors inferred that participants who went from being physically inactive to becoming more active over a 5-year period were less likely to die from any cause than people who were consistently inactive.

One final conclusion applied to those who already were involved in high levels of activity:  those who had high levels of physical activity at the start of the study were 42% less likely to die prematurely from any cause.

The benefits of increasing physical activity do not depend on past activity levels.  This is the encouraging result.  As the authors state, older adults “can still gain substantial longevity benefits by becoming more active, lending further support to the broad public health benefits of physical activity.” It also affirms the belief that we should never give up or stop moving forward.  Apparently taking on new behaviors at any age still pays off.

Postscript

The Living to 100 Club, LLC, is an Amazon Affiliate; sales commissions accrue to the Company when recommended Amazon products are purchased by our readers.  These products target healthy lifestyles, information on successful aging, and aid to caregivers. The online store at Living to 100 Club also gives you access to more products with items that improve health awareness, fitness, and travel with items for maintaining an active senior lifestyle and a positive outlook toward our future.

Radio Talk Show

The Living to 100 Club is all about staying positive as we age. Our blog articles and our new weekly live Radio Show emphasize longevity, successful aging, risk management, and handling setbacks whenever they occur.  Be sure to tune in to our weekly live Radio Talk Show on VoiceAmericaHealth, every Friday at 2pm Pacific, with your Host, Dr. Joe Casciani.

Missed the live event?  Recordings of all episodes are stored on the Club website. Scroll down on the audio player and select “Episode Listing” to display the selections.

This Week’s Recommendations

Exerpeutic Folding Upright Exercise Bike – Editor’s Choice: small enough to fit in a studio apartment while also being strong and sturdy.

Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands – Ideal for resistance training, and made for indoor and outdoor use.

Learning Dumbbell Workout Exercise Poster – Double-sided for vertical or horizontal use, tear-resistant.

Younger Next year: The Exercise Program – A Guide to show the right way to exercise, how to start an exercise regimen, and the know-how to keep it going.

AmazonBasics ½-inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat – Extra thick mat for workout routines, textured surface, and lightweight (74×24”)

Sign-up For Our Email List

Click this link to sign up for our email list.

Click this link for a copy of the Living to100 Club Member Handbook, 9 Principles  to Create Positive Frame of Mind as We Age.

 

Transform Your Life: Tao Calligraphy with Master Sha

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Health & Wellness
Transform Your Life: Tao Calligraphy with Master Sha

On July 16th and 23rd, Master Zhi Gang Sha will be live on the Stepping into the Ten Da Tao Chang Show on VoiceAmerica’s Empowerment Channel. Speaking from the Tao Calligraphy with Master Sha: A Source Healing Retreat, Master Sha will teach about Tao Calligraphy and the power of writing the positive messages of the Ten Da, the Greatest Tao Qualities.

The ancient art of Chinese calligraphy has long been a revered practice for cultivating the life force of energy (qi or chi), well-being, happiness, and wisdom. Master Sha first learned a unique form of one-stroke calligraphy from Professor Li Qiu Yin, who was taught by Tai Shi (Supreme Teacher), the teacher of the of the emperor and royal family’s children of the Qing dynasty, the last imperial dynasty in China.

He then went on to create Tao Calligraphy, building on this tradition by infusing the unique one-stroke calligraphy with Tao light, blessings, and messages of the Greatest Tao qualities of love, forgiveness, compassion, and much more. Master Sha’s Tao Calligraphy is Oneness writing that carries frequencies and vibrations that can help support people in overcoming challenges they face in their lives. Research has shown that Tao Calligraphy has helped rehabilitation patients recover more quickly, and veterans have been using this technique to cope with PTSD. Modern medicine now shows how the power of meditative techniques has real effects on physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Master Sha will explain how tracing and learning to write Tao Calligraphy helps people to transform imbalances within their souls, hearts, minds, and bodies. The meditative practice of writing these positive messages in one stroke, one chi,  creates a flow of energy that transforms negative messages carried within to positive messages. This brings out the true human potential for happiness, well-being, and more success in life.

Learn more: http://www.drsha.com

 

 

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Five Years to Live

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Empowerment
Five Years to Live

Since the release of my book “Five Years to Live,” I have met with dozens of families who have received and had to deal with the phone call every dreads; “There has been an accident and your son/daughter is paralyzed.” Now what? What does the family do? Who do they contact? When will they know something? How badly is he/she hurt? How do they get to the hospital? Who can take them to the airport? Where do they stay? How do they cope with the shock, grief, and the major overhaul of their life?

Worse yet, is the impact on the injured loved one. Am I going to die? Is the paralysis permanent? Will I be confined to a wheelchair? What will I be able to do? Will I be able to hold a job? How will I support myself? Will I have to live in a nursing home? How long will I be in the hospital? What is going to happen to my relationship with my significant other? What horrors will rehabilitation bring? Will I be able to do it? Will I even want to try? The fears move to panic and ultimately to deep depression. I don’t want to live like this. I don’t want to be a burden on my family. If I survive how long will I live? What will the quality of my life be?

Initially, there is nothing to do but pray and wait. Pray for the best and wait for the outcome of the surgery. There is nothing worse than waiting and not knowing. The fear and uncertainty are overwhelming. All you can do is wait. Once the surgery is over you get the news and you go through all the fears again. The doctor gives you the clinical results and sets the expectations going forward. As bad as things have been up to this point, they are about to get even worse. Everything you know is gone. The family and their son/daughter will have to learn how to perform every basic function in life all over again. Will he/she have the herculean strength necessary to rebuild their body, their mind, their life? Will the family be able to provide the support and assistance needed? Most people don’t. The majority of people in this situation simply give up hope and death comes quickly.

So you start the long, painful, grueling recovery and rehabilitation process. You deal with the constant infections, additional surgeries, the new medication, the side effects, and constant adjustments to the medication. Then another battle occurs, fighting with insurance companies. If you are lucky the insurance will settle quickly. More times than not, you will end up in court trying to get the bills paid and secure the equipment that will be needed for the rest of his/her life.

Each step along the way brings a sense of hope that you will get through this terrible ordeal. This sense of hope is accompanied by devastating depression as you discover that the average life expectancy is five years and you have spent the first year in the hospital.

So you cheated death once. Can you pick up the pieces and continue to survive? No one knows for sure. One thing doctors cannot explain or predict is the power of the human spirit. Those that survive don’t let their circumstances control their life. They find a purpose, a passion that gives them a reason to continue fighting. They refuse to be a spectator. You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only option. The only failure is giving up.

Frank Zaccari is the author of the book “Five Years to Live.”

Photo Safari Day

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Empowerment
Photo Safari Day

Photo Safari Day

For our July Article, we offer you some of the details of a photo safari day we had during a recent visit to Costa Rica. The impressions of our day were recorded from Ariel’s point of view. In our experience, observing minutiae – small moments – can be wondrous when you are there to experience them. We hope that you find yourself inspired to discover the details of your day – wherever you are – from the pictures and “word pictures” we offer. Enjoy!

The monkeys we heard at dusk, murmuring in the canopy above, definitely were Howlers. The following day, they began again, greeting the morning with a gusty serenade. As I passed under the awakening troupe spread out among the branches, I heard a suspicious “blop…blob, blop” all around me and I quickly advised Shya to take an alternate route to the dining area. I was fairly sure the sounds I was hearing wasn’t a random, morning bathroom call but rather a marking of territory against intruders, monkey style.

There was clearly more than one dominant male in the group as they howled in counterpoint, lusty overtones sung to the lightening sky. Deep chesty resonance, a crescendo of sound was offered to the heavens – a salute to the sun, the trees, the dawn of day.

After breakfast, we gather our things and the captain picks us up for the short ride down to the boat. Soon we motor away from the dock. The day is fresh before the heat arrives heavy-handed to press the air until it became difficult to breathe. Sun slanting through a high canopy of clouds, crickets setting a background hum, birds flitting, a young caiman scuttling away from our boat, reptilian eyes flashing. We motor up the canal, as dragonflies sketch random patterns overhead and vines trail in the water casting vague wakes.

We arrive at the lagoon and its glassy surface glitters with a profusion of bait. Soon, as if raining, the surface begins dimpling as the watery world awakes and the little sardines began to feed. The slightest sound – a cough, a shuffle of our feet or the anchor shifting on the bottom of the boat – causes a wave of response, tiny fish going airborne, fanning out from our position. A lone cormorant fans its wings. The clouds cast gauzy reflections and the distant purple haze of mountains flanks us.

Then as the day sharpens, Ms. Tarpon began to feed – lazily porpoising, displacing water, teasing us with her tantalizing presence as Shya stands, fly rod at the ready, poised in the bow of the boat. Our world is quiet but alive. The clear water of the lagoon mixes with the chocolate colored current of the canal. Great arcing leaps of baitfish sketch the path of feeding tarpons under the surface.

Shya casts, strips in the line. Casts again. The captain quietly repositions the boat with an electric motor designed to minimize noise. More casting. The sun rises higher. Heat. Sweat. Waiting. Cast again. The water erupts. 100 pounds of contained fury leaps to the sky, spraying droplets, large scales flashing in the sun. A breathless dance. Shya pulls her in, the guide hoists her up to be seen and then releases her back to her home.

Most people think that when Shya and I go fishing, it is all about catching fish. In truth, it is all about Being Here – whatever we are doing. And it is all about being here for the minute details of the experience. For it is in the details that the richness of life is revealed.

 

Since 1987, internationally acclaimed authors, seminar leaders, podcast/radio show hosts and business consultants Ariel and Shya Kane have acted as guides, leading people through the swamp of the mind into the clarity and brilliance of the moment. Find out more about the Kanes, their seminars in NYC, Germany and Costa Rica, the Say YES to Your Life! Meetups their work has inspired, their Being Here podcast or join their email newsletter. Also get information about their award-winning books. Their newest book, Being Here…Too, is available on Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and everywhere books are sold.

Books by Ariel & Shya Kane

Yesterday – An Unbelievable Plot and a Film Filled With The Beatles Music

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Movie Reviews
Yesterday – An Unbelievable Plot and a Film Filled With The Beatles Music
Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter in an English seaside town whose dreams of fame are rapidly
fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie. After a freak bus
accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never
existed. Performing songs by the greatest band in history to a world that has never heard them, Jack
becomes on overnight sensation with a little help from his agent. KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Kimbirly O.
comments, “Imagine a world without music from The Beatles. As I type these words, I realize how far-
fetched this sentence appears and, as a music lover, it’s preposterous! The Beatles have influenced
thousands of musical artists who followed in their hallowed footsteps post-Liverpool. While unbelievable,
this is the premise behind Director Danny Boyle’s (Oscar-winning Director, Slum Dog Millionaire) latest
film, Yesterday.” KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Katherine S. adds, “This new world that Jack now lives in, is
crazy. It does not have The Beatles. And John Lennon is alive. Can you imagine? The movie is creative
in many ways, including using locations that inspired several Beatles’ song titles such as Eleanor Rigby’s
grave and Penny Lane. My favorite character is Ellie, Jack’s manager. She is sweet, funny and beautiful.
My favorite part is when Jack searches for The Beatles on the Internet.” Ethan P. wraps it up with, “This is
a very entertaining and funny movie! This film has two hours of comedy, romance and music. I really
enjoyed watching this movie and listening to some of The Beatles classic songs.” See their full reviews
below.
Yesterday
By Kimbirly Orr, KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror
https://youtu.be/Ry9honCV3qc
Imagine a world without music from The Beatles. As I type these words, I realize how far-fetched this
sentence appears and, as a music lover, it’s preposterous! The Beatles have influenced thousands of
musical artists who followed in their hallowed footsteps post-Liverpool. While unbelievable, this is the
premise behind Director Danny Boyle’s (Oscar-winning Director, Slum Dog Millionaire) latest film,
Yesterday. When a 12-second global power outage occurs, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, EastEnders) is
riding his bicycle, collides with a bus, and lands in the hospital with serious injuries. During his recovery,
he casually utters statements, which are song lyrics from the Fab Four, and no one gets it. His confusion
leads him to Google, where Jack types “The Beatles,” only to received definitions of beetles. Try as he
may, he can find no reference of The Beatles anywhere and, throughout the film; we learn other brands
are also nonexistent in this alternate universe, such as Coke. Jack suddenly realizes he is the only person
on Earth who remembers The Beatles.
Things get very interesting as Jack has always been a struggling musician. Think kid’s birthday parties,
lackluster music festivals and coffee shops. He is lovingly looked after by his lifelong friend Ellie (Lily
James) who is also his manager, roadie and his only faithful supporter. If this level of closeness was not
enough, we also witness unrequited attraction between the two main characters and, since the script
comes from Richard Curtis (Love Actually), we know where this is headed.
Jack decides to learn the songs of The Beatles and make them his own – and he finds success! So much
success, Ed Sheeran (playing himself) discovers him. Along with the pop superstar, comes his agent
(Kate McKinnon), a money-grubbing, tremendously offensive yet also a funny woman who thinks she
found the proverbial pot at the end of the rainbow. Things don’t quite ‘Come Together’ entirely.
Things get ridiculous as Jack and Ed Sheeran embark on a world tour and meet a few interesting people
along the way. The song selection is impeccable with “‘Help” providing an accurate reading of the song’s
rarely spoken meaning, appropriate to the character and plot. The “Long and Winding Road” of the film is

truly a musical journey.
I give this film 3 of 5 stars for the some of the casting, the humorous interludes, Kate McKinnon’s
performance, UNBELIEVABLE MUSIC (kudos to whoever had to manage clearances for this film –
WOW!) and female empowerment. This film will appeal to ages 12 to 18 and introduce or re-introduce the
music of The Beatles to younger generations. This writer found herself toe tapping, singing along and
loving all the memories this music holds. Check it out when it opens in theaters June 28, 2019.
Yesterday
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
https://youtu.be/KMhzT6EAXdM
This movie is very entertaining. It has great songs, great singing and a little romance. The acting really
pulled me into the story.
Yesterday is about a man named Jack who wants to become a famous singer. While riding his bike, the
world’s power goes out and Jack gets hit by a bus. After recovering, his friends give him a new guitar and
he tries it out by singing a song by The Beatles. His friends have never heard the song before or even
know who The Beatles are. So, Jack gets an idea to claim those songs as his own, so he can become
famous.
This new world that Jack now lives in, is crazy. It does not have The Beatles. And John Lennon is alive.
Can you imagine? The movie is creative in many ways, including using locations that inspired several
Beatles’ song titles such as Eleanor Rigby’s grave and Penny Lane. My favorite character is Ellie, Jack’s
manager. She is sweet, funny and beautiful. My favorite part is when Jack searches for The Beatles on
the Internet.
The message of Yesterday is to follow your dreams, put love first and tell the truth. It has a bit of bad
language and a lot of drinking, but hey, it takes place in England, so I guess that is to be expected. It has
some negative behavior and other risky things that kids might try to do.
I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18. Adults will like this as well. This
movie is in theaters June 28, 2019.
Yesterday
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10
This is a very entertaining and funny movie! This film has two hours of comedy, romance and music. I
really enjoyed watching this movie and listening to some of The Beatles classic songs.
Yesterday is about a British musician name Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) who writes his own songs. Jack is
not a successful musician and is about to give up his career as a singer/writer, but his long time friend
Ellie (Lily James) encourage him to continue with his dreams to keep writing and singing. One night,
while Jack is riding his bike, the entire world suffers a 12 second blackout. Jack gets hit by a bus and
sent to the hospital. For some reason, after the global blackout, The Beatles are erased from history;
they don’t exist. No one knows who The Beatles are except Jack.
The combination of comedy, romance and music is really good. Not only does Himesh Patel sing all The
Beatles songs himself, he has an extraordinary voice and plays several instruments as well. My favorite
part of this movie is seeing Ed Sheeran as himself. Ed visits Jack and invites him to sing with him. Ed’smanager Deborah (Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live) is extremely funny. She becomes Jack’s
manager and helps him make a great album singing The Beatles’ songs. Jack becomes super famous.
My favorite scene is when Jack sings “Help!” on top of a roof, in front of huge crowd. I also love the cast,
because they are all very funny. For example Jack’s best friend Rocky is played by Joel Fry, who is
hysterical and James Corden plays as himself and he is always very funny to watch. .
The moral of this movie is not to lie. In the movie Jack lies by telling the world he wrote all the songs and
becomes famous. Also, he is in love with Ellie and doesn’t have the courage to tell her. Lying can get
you into more trouble than you are already in.
I give this film 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 9 to18. This movie comes out in theatres June
28, 2019. Look for it.

Sonic Boom, Go Team Sonic! – Be Prepared for Numerous Wild Adventures

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Kids
Sonic Boom, Go Team Sonic! – Be Prepared for Numerous Wild Adventures
Its a Sonic you havent seen before an ensemble comedy that pokes fun at actionadventure
storytelling, but still manages to deliver plenty of adrenaline! Wherever he goes and whatever hes 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. On this actionpacked DVD, join Sonic and the
gang as they accept a dare from Dr. Eggman. Tag along with Sonic and Knuckles as they enter a game
show. And find out what happens when Sonic’s status as the town’s biggest hero is threatened. And so
much more! “I like the graphics and the music is intense. The voice-overs are so cool, especially because
it’s the first time I hear Sonic and his friends talk. They do not talk in the video game, rather than saying
“Oh Yeah!” Each episode is funny and fun to watch, because they are short, so it keeps your attention
the whole time.” Nathalia J. adds, “On this action-packed DVD, you get to tag along with Sonic the
Hedgehog and his pals as they escape from the evil enemies, fight for justice, work together as a team,
defeat evil and so much more.” Lukas L. wraps it with, “In every episode, there is a funny and creative
conflict with one of the characters and their band of friends come together to help them solve it with the
main leader Sonic. There is a fully developed plot and each of the characters have their own quirky
personality.” See their full reviews below.
Sonic Boom, Go Team Sonic!
By Ethan P., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10
https://youtu.be/aFbatiDykg
Sonic5.jpg
I love this DVD. I love any show that has to do with my favorite childhood game characters. In this case,
the DVD is about Sonic, a super fast, blue hedgehog and his friends.
This DVD includes eight episodes and a bonus episode from Season 2, “If You Build it They Will Race“.
It also gives you a choice to watch the episodes in English or Spanish. Each episode is approximately
ten minutes with a total of 90 minutes of fun. In every episode, Sonic and his friends -Tails, Knuckles,
Amy and Sticks – come together to stop crimes against their number one enemy, Dr. Eggman. Dr.
Eggman is an evil scientist who wants to destroy Sonic and his crew. In every episode something evil
happens to Sonic and his friends, but they always manage to save the day.
My favorite episode is “Counter Productive” because it is about Sonic’s friend, Knuckles, fighting a giant
robot. This archaeologist named Charlie meets Knuckles and, from there on, Knuckles decides to help
him with his work. At one point, Knuckles becomes a bit annoying because, instead of helping Charlie, he
interrupts his work by messing it up. Knuckles and Charlie do not get along, to the point that Charlie
constructs a giant robot to fight big, red Knuckles. Of course, I am not going to tell you who wins the fight,
because you need to watch this cool DVD to find out.
I like the graphics and the music is intense. The voice-overs are so cool, especially because it’s the first
time I hear Sonic and his friends talk. They do not talk in the video game, rather than saying “Oh Yeah!”
Each episode is funny and fun to watch, because they are short, so it keeps your attention the whole
time. I got to see a sneak peek of the first episode of Season 2. I like how the bonus episode of Season
2 plays the theme song from the “Knight Rider” show.
The message of this DVD is “team work makes the dream work.” When Sonic and his friends work as a
team, they accomplish their mission by defeating the bad guy, Mr. Eggman.
I rate Sonic Boom, Go Team Sonic! 5 out of 5 stars, because I enjoyed watching Sonic and his friends in
a cartoon show, besides playing the game. I recommend this for ages 7 to 18 because teenagers will als oenjoy watching this DVD. The DVD is available now so look for it. Looking forward to watch Sonic Boom Season 2!
Sonic Boom: Go Team Sonic
By Nathalia J., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10
https://youtu.be/1VdtfiIWg0M
Go Team Sonic! This DVD includes eight Sonic-Powered episodes that will take you on numerous wild
adventures alongside Sonic the Hedgehog and his pals. This 90 minute DVD also includes a bonus
episode. How fun is that! On this action-packed DVD, you get to tag along with Sonic the Hedgehog and
his pals as they escape from the evil enemies, fight for justice, work together as a team, defeat evil and
so much more.
This DVD follows Sonic the hedgehog aided by his sidekick, Tails and his friends Knuckles, Amy and
Sticks. Each episode focuses on a new wild adventure as the whole gang fights their evil arch nemesis,
Dr. Eggman. As each action-packed episode goes along, you find out how Sonic’s status as the town’s
biggest hero is threatened. Not only do you get to fight alongside the leaders, you get to find out what life
is like being a hero.
The lead characters are Sonic the Hedgehog, his sidekick Amy, Tails, Knuckles and Dr. Eggman. My
favorite character is, without-a-doubt, Amy because she’s very outspoken, brave, fearless and powerful.
What I love most about Amy is the fact that she brings excitement to each episode, whether it’s through
her ambition to fight, her unexpected plans or even the real truth (which always ends up coming out of
Amy’s mouth).
My favorite episode on this DVD is Episode 4, “Fuzzy Puppy Buddies”. I enjoyed this episode more than
others, because it has a surprising twist when one of Sonic’s pals becomes Fuzzy Puppy Buddies with
their enemies. It brings so much suspense to the table.
There is no bad language in this DVD, no risky actions that younger kids might try to imitate. This film
shares an important message about always helping a friend in need.
I give this DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 16, as well adults. The DVD is available
now so, make sure to check it out!
Sonic Boom: Go Team Sonic
By Lukas Loza, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 12
https://youtu.be/H66IA1Cc5s0
I really enjoyed watching the DVD Sonic Boom: Go Team Sonic, because the characters are super fun.
There are a couple of things I found somewhat distracting such as the mouthing of the characters which is
out of sync and the characters seem a bit bland, which detracts from the show.
Sonic Boom: Go Team Sonic is a collection of nine episodes from the computer animated Sonic Boom TV
series produced by Sega of America and Technicolor Animation Productions based on the video game
Sonic the Hedgehog. It stars Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends. In every episode, there is a funny and
creative conflict with one of the characters and their band of friends come together to help them solve it
with the main leader Sonic. There is a fully developed plot and each of the characters have their own
quirky personality.
This series stars Robert Craig Smith voicing Sonic the Hedgehog. His friends are voiced by Colleen
O’Shaughnessey (fun fact, she is the first female to ever voice the character Tails), Cindy Robinson and
Travis Willingham. It is created by Evan Baily, Donna Friedman and Sadrine Nguyen. Their voices have
distinct personalities, so the lip synch issue is not too noticeable. The characters are very well constructed
and you really see their personalities come through. However, the animation gives them very blank
expressions, which distracts from what is actually going on.
This series is entertaining and doesn’t have a great moral message, except reinforcing the concept of
friendship and solidarity.
I would give this series 3 out of 5 stars with an appealing age range of 5 to 8 years old and you can find
this on DVD and at the KIDS FIRST! Film festiva

Llama Llama Best Summer Ever! – Tons Of Fun, Appealing To Young Kids And Families

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Kids
Llama Llama Best Summer Ever! – Tons Of Fun, Appealing To Young Kids And Families
Llama Llama springs to life in these heart-warming tales based on the award-winning book series
by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. Join Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the
Sheep and Gilroy Goat as they explore their safe, friendly hometown and make childhood
memories. On this DVD, join Llama Llama as he camps, boats, floats and swims his way through
his BEST summer ever! Adventure and learning awaits with Llama Llama and pals! KIDS FIRST!
Film Critic Katherine S. comments, “Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to
watch. It has adorable characters, fun animation, great music and lots vibrant content. The short
episodes are the perfect length to keep young children entertained. Selene W. adds, Llama
Llama is an animated series full of family values and nature adventures!...There are eight
episodes on the new DVD Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever! Llama Llama has exciting
adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life lessons at the beach, camping
and around the town.” KIDS FIRST! Adult Reviewer Jennifer V. wraps it up with, “Through Llama
Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat, kids will learn
how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and enjoy their
families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping, boating, swimming
and kite flying.” See their full reviews below.
LL4.jpg
Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever!
By Katherine S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11
https://youtu.be/oQe3bWF0DDQ
Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever! is so entertaining to watch. It has adorable characters, fun
animation, great music and lots vibrant content. The short episodes are the perfect length to
keep young children entertained.
This DVD is about Llama Llama and his friend having the time of their lives on their summer
vacation. Episodes include Let’s Go Camping, Beach Day, Boat Float and Last Day of Summer.
Wherever Llama Llama goes, there will always be fun.
The Llama Llama animated series is so cool, because they are based on the award-winning book
series by author and illustrator Anna Dewdney. There are several lovable characters including
Llama Llama, Nelly Gnu and Luna Giraffe. This DVD is approximately 90 minutes long with eight
episodes. My favorite episode is Last Day of Summer, because it shows that even if the weather
is bad you can still have fun indoors during the summer.
There are a lot of positive messages in this DVD including keeping a positive attitude when your
plans change unexpectedly and, if you go with the flow and have a positive attitude, the outcome
can still be fun. We also learn that a little bit of practice can make you feel more confident and
that if you feel as if you are not getting enough attention from your parents, just know that they
still love you. This DVD has no bad language and there is nothing risky or dangerous that kids
might try to do. However, there are scenes showing jealously.
I give this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 8. This DVD is available now. I
totally recommend this DVD for your kids.
Llama Llamas Best Summer Ever
By Selene W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11
https://youtu.be/YPBjICXv8sI
LL3.jpg
Llama Llamas Best Summer Ever is a DVD filled with episodes that are full of family values and
nature adventures! This heartwarming animated series is based on the beloved childrens books
by Anna Dewdney who also illustrated the books. There are eight episodes on the new DVD
Llama Llama BEST Summer Ever!
Llama Llama has exciting adventures with his family and friends which include valuable life
lessons at the beach, camping and around the town. The series features Jennifer Garner as the
voice of the loving Mama Llama. My favorite episode is Last Day of Summer where Llama
Llama seizes the day with friends and goes to the park to fly kites and ends up using imagination
when the weather complicates their plans. Change can be exciting and fun!
The message of this series is to learn from family and friends and to enjoy childhood. Change
can be tough but you can always enjoy time with family and friends.
I rate this DVD 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 3 to 6. The DVD is available now.
Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever
By Jennifer V., KIDS FIRST! Juror
https://youtu.be/9e7sw5vJDps
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/9e7sw5vJDps”
frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture”
allowfullscreen></iframe>
Llama Llama’s Best Summer Ever! DVD is tons of fun and will appeal to kids and families. It’s a
bright and happy animated series that is based on Anna Dewdney’s books about an adventurous
llama and his circle of family and friends. This DVD has eight episodes with an option to play all
the episodes or select them one at a time at an approximate run time of 90 minutes of lively
entertainment.
The series employs bright colors, fun animals and engaging story lines that align with the daily
activities that many kids are involved in, to capture their interest. The cute story lines deliver
positive messages. For example, Llama Llama’s kite is torn on the last day of summer and his
mom teaches him resourcefulness. There’s no need to buy a new one, we can fix this one and it
will be better than before. The writing structure is straightforward and geared towards its target
audience. The continuity and style reinforce each episode’s message, teamwork, resourcefulness
and helping others. The series uses vocabulary that appeals to young kids. For example, when
Llama Llama’s kite is torn his mom states that she will help him make a swirl-o-rama kite!
Through Llama Llama and his friends Nelly Gnu, Luna Giraffe, Euclid the Sheep and Gilroy Goat,
kids will learn how to problem-solve, work as part of a team, help others, develop friendship and
enjoy their families with awesome summer activities such as making lemonade, camping,
boating, swimming and kite flying. The series visually appeals to kids with its bright colors and
cute animal friends. The DVD cover is appropriate and appeal as it features Llama Llama and his
friends. There is also a listing of each episode included, with a picture next to it representing what
the episode is about.
There are educational benefits as kids are taught about problem solving and teamwork. For
example, Llama Llama wants to help his friend buy a new bike tire, so he opens a lemonade
stand to earn the money. His friends help him improve his product and help with marketing it.
Additionally, kids are shown that everyone can be included even if they don’t do the same things.
i.e. Euclid the Sheep shows up when everyone’s flying kites. He doesn’t have a kite, but he can
make calculations on wind, temperature and time to help the other kites fly. There are several
messages in this series about teamwork, resourcefulness, friendship, family and helping others.
The DVD menu has an option to watch all the episodes or select them one at a time. I give this
DVD 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 2 to 11.

The Importance of Rites of Passage

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Empowerment
The Importance of Rites of Passage

Being involved and participating in a “rite of passage” can be a major life altering event. This is particularly true for teenagers. These rites of passage can be the holiday dance, graduation party, or the big one, going to the PROM. Far too many teens miss their rites of passage, because they simply don’t have the money for the gown, or the tux, or the limo, or the dinner. Not being able to participate in these rites of passage can have a very negative impact on a child’s self-esteem, self-worth, feeling of belonging, etc. It can also lead to intense frustration, isolation, and depression. In the worse scenarios, when a child or young adult is repeatedly told by words, actions, or the inability to attend a rite of passage that they are not good enough, they don’t matter, they will never be accepted, and there is no hope of improvement, it can be the tipping point that moves them into crime, drug use, abusive relationships, or homelessness.

Now this is not always the case, but I have spoken to many people over my life that missed one or all of these rites of passage, and it still bothers them many years later. I met one very successful accountant who told me his home situation growing up was such that he, nor his family, had the money to attend proms and other major events. It took him many years to overcome the feeling of inadequacy. He said he went through many dark years including needing public assistance, which he said deepened his feeling of inadequacy. He was one of the fortunate ones who found someone to help him. This person encouraged him to go to college, and showed him ways he could receive grants, find work study programs, and scholarships, something he would have never known existed.

One organization in Sacramento, California named Vida de Oro is doing something to allow teens to both participate in these rites of passage, and provide the transformational training/education to learn job skills, interview skills, and expose them to ways they can create an innovative mindset, so they understand the process of how business operates. You can’t play the game if you don’t know the rules.

The prom is a rite of passage for high school students. “It is critical for the self-esteem of young men and women that they are able to participate and be included is this important moment. It is more than just one time event, it says to young people you matter, you have value and you can go forward with your life with more confidence,” says Vida de Oro founder, President and CEO Guillermina “Mina” F Perez. “Who is to say that many homeless people suffering from lack of education or addiction might have had the courage and confidence to avoid the first step on to the slippery slope if they had more positive experiences earlier in life,” said Perez.

Mina, doesn’t just talk the talk, she took action. She organized a Prom Dress Giveaway program. After the devastating fire in Butte County California that destroyed the entire city of Paradise, Mina received a call from local store who said, given the terrible fires they were extremely overstocked with prom dresses, and told her she could have them if she could pick them up. Through the efforts of Lulus.com, Quota International of Oroville, concerned parents and grandparents, the Vida de Oro Foundation was gifted over 600 prom dresses, of which 330 were given on February 9, 2019, and the rest were given on March 23, 2019.

Students from 73 high schools from Butte to Fresno County, and the Bay Area participated in this event. Local Sacramento television ABC10 carried the story and the program went viral.  This program will continue, and expanded to include dresses for semi-formal events, graduations, Quinceañeras, etc. and programs for males.

Given the engagement by 73 local high schools for Prom Dress Giveaway, Vida de Oro has established good will, a strong following, and trust in the community. It is now time to expand the giveaway into a vehicle to promote and advance economic growth through a series of alliances between businesses, governments, unions, and other non-profits who provide transformational job training and education, within marginalized communities such as returning Veterans, Native Americans, Hispanics, African American, Immigrants, and Women.

We cannot depend or rely on the schools, or government, or business alone to address economic growth. There must be a concerted effort between all these entities and willing organizations such as Vida de Oro to serve as the focal point to address economic growth in our community. Vida de Oro is creating alliances with businesses, government (city, county and state), labor unions, and other non-profits to offer transformational education/training programs.

One of the best methods to address homelessness, violence, depression, and abuse is a stable good paying job. A strong small business community is needed for a thriving local economy. Among the benefits of developing a strong local business community include:

  • They are already live in, and are committed to, the community
  • The businesses and employees tend to stay in the community and spend their money locally
  • A strong local small business community is needed to attract larger businesses
  • The city/county does not have to give major tax incentives to lure small businesses into the community–they are already here.

Now before you say, “That’s nice, but this is just another non-profit running around begging for money,” guess again. Vida de Oro holds community events which raises funds (an annual Taco Festival, The Fall Street Faire and Blues Festival are two examples.)

Interested students and families will enroll in one or more programs. As they attend, and complete programs they receive additional perks. There will be various tracks that families and individuals can select. By participating in the value added tracks, they receive additional perks, (bus/light rail passes, movie theater passes, gift cards from businesses, tickets to sport and theatrical events etc.). The more tracks they enroll in and complete the more perks they receive. The goal of the Vida de Oro tracks is to improve the quality of life, assist in securing employment, build self-esteem, and promote inclusion.

Attending and participating in rites of passage events are important. They are life altering events.

Is Imagination More Important Than Intelligence?

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Empowerment
Is Imagination More Important Than Intelligence?

Imagination versus intelligence! Which is more important? Is this a chicken or the egg argument where no one wins? OK, let’s look into this.

I recently read that Albert Einstein is credited with the statement: “Imagination is more important than intelligence.” Given Mr. Einstein is likely the most intelligent man in history, I have to give the statement some merit. So I looked for other similar statements.

  • “If you can first dream it, you can achieve it.” —Jim Valvano
  • “I have a dream.” —Dr. Martin Luther King

Three powerful statements by three accomplished people! So what comes from imagination? Vision! Vision paints a picture that people can see and follow. Vision leads to action. For example:

  • Dr. King’s Dream
  • The Women’s March
  • Landing on the Moon
  • #METOO

Why is this important? What do imagination and vision have in common?

  • They have no race,
  • They have no gender,
  • They have no ethnicity,
  • They have no religion,
  • They have no life style,
  • They have no political party, and
  • They have no job title.

Imagination and vision are available to everyone. Neither is limited to the rich or famous or national leaders. Given the sad state of the federal government, it is certainly not the purview of either political party. So does this mean if your imagination can create a vision and you have a genuine belief in your vision your life will improve? Not necessarily.

To take advantage of your imagination and vision requires choices such as:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where to you want to be?
  • What is stopping you from getting there?
  • What resources/skills do you need to get there?
  • Are you willing to do what it takes—no excuses?

I worked with a company that enrolls students into a major university’s online school. This company runs a call center. (Call centers are today’s version of the old assembly lines: Long, boring, tedious, and repetitive.) The division Vice President asked me to look into reasons why the enrollment group was consistently below industry average and why they were having such high turnover. I asked to meet with the department manager, a shift supervisor and one of their top individual performers. I asked them the same question. What is the purpose of your job?

The manager’s response was, “To enroll as many students as possible.” This response clearly does not paint a picture. The supervisor’s answer was, “It is a numbers game. The more people we talk to about the enrollment process, the more students we enroll.” Does this answer motivate you to take action? I don’t think so! The worker, a 24-year-old millennial woman said, “I help people take the first step to realizing their hopes and dreams by guiding them through the enrollment process at one the greatest universities in the world.” Now who has vision? Among my recommendations to the company was to start training this young woman to become the manager ASAP. Unfortunately this company did not heed the advice. This young woman and several other top performers have all joined other companies.

Organizations with imagination and vision are always changing. They are not locked into established “Best Practice.” Best practices is a term than drives me crazy. Best practices are a point in time. They are not forever. They are not the gospel. I talk to so many people who say “I am following the best practice for my industry, but I am still floundering.” My response is, “If it doesn’t work for you then it isn’t a best practice is it? Maybe you should be looking for the NEXT PRACTICE.”

The world is changing faster than our ability to comprehend and make adjustments. History is lettered with companies that religiously followed their best practice all the way to extinction. For example, during the days when the telephone industry was regulated, the only place you could get a phone was from Western Electric. You couldn’t buy the phone, you rented it FOREVER. Now Western Electric gave you some options. The color option was black and the style options were you hung it on the wall or put it on your desk. When the industry deregulated, people could choose their own carrier and actually buy a phone. People didn’t want the one size fits all Western Electric phone. They wanted red phones, and princess phones and Mickey Mouse phones. Western Electric, however followed their best practice of limited options for manufacturing efficiency. They are now gone.

A&P, the first of the great grocery store chain, followed their best practice of the same products in every store in the same aisle and on the same shelf. A&P didn’t adjust to the demographics of the local population or changes in customer taste. They no longer exist.

The survivors are the disruptive organizations. The ones who challenged the best practice and asked “What If?” Companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix—you can name others yourself. These companies decided the established best practice wasn’t the best for them and changed the world.

“What If” ideas don’t always come from senior management. When Starbucks first started it was located across the street from the Pike’s Market in Seattle (you know the place where they throw the fish). The original Starbucks was in the middle of the block. On either side on the same block was Tulley’s Coffee and Seattle’s Best Coffee. All followed the best practice. Only coffee related drinks. Coffee, Expresso, Cappuccino, Latte, flavored coffee, etc. NO blenders. Blenders were not part of the best practice. Blenders were an unwanted expense. Blender break down, slow the line and for “God’s Sake” back in the 1980s, who would have thought anyone would ever pay five dollars for a coffee drink.

A young Starbucks employee brought her own blender from home and started to make blended drinks, Frappuccinos, and others. She put them out as samples. The customers loved them. Starbucks to its credit, saw the trend and changed their best practice. In 2018, Starbucks generated 24.7 billion dollars in revenue. Depending on what reports you believe, 50 percent to 60 percent of that revenue comes from blended drinks. That is between twelve to fourteen billion dollars because someone asked “What If?” and challenged the established best practice.

So in the end, is imagination more important than intelligence? I still don’t know, but I believe imagination/vision coupled with determination are far more important than intelligence. I know many very intelligent people driving buses or tending bar. The question is what kind of business do you want? Call me let’s talk.

WHY THE INCREDIBLE STUDENT LOAN BURDEN MUST CHANGE

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Business
WHY THE INCREDIBLE STUDENT LOAN BURDEN MUST CHANGE

Student loan debt in our country has reached horrifying levels with no end in sight! There are more than 44 million borrowers who collectively owe approximately 1.5 trillion dollars with another 100 billion about to be added to tin the coming months as people graduate. Student debt is the second largest form of consumer debt in the United States, second only to mortgage debt. The average college graduate owes approximately $40,000 in student loans upon graduation.

How did we get into this situation and better yet, how are we going to get out of it? It seems clear that the student loan crisis didn’t happen because of one trend or change and that it’s going to take a multi faceted approach to bring student debt into balance. Let’s look at what some of the contributing factors are:

  • Rising college tuition: Costs for secondary tuition have jumped dramatically and those jumps include tuition at 2-year public colleges, 4-year public colleges, and 4-year private colleges. It costs $930 more per year to attend a 2-year college in 2018 than it did in 2008, $2670 more per year to attend a 4-year public college, and $7,390 more year to attend a private 4-year college (difference given in 2018 dollars). The average rate at which tuition has increased ranges from 1.2 times that of general inflation to 2.1 times the general inflation rate – effectively doubling the cost of tuition every 8 years.
  • Rising number of people attending college: Enrollment in 2-year, 4-year, and post graduate programs has increased more than 50% since 1995. This increase is attributed, in part, to employers requiring college degrees to even be considered for most positions.
  • Government education subsidies not keeping pace: State and federal education subsidies,whether directly to the institution or to students in the form of Pell grants, have increased massively over the years but not in proportion to the rise in the number of students. This translates to lower direct and indirect support per student for post-secondary education.
  • Ballooning administrative costs: Administrative positions at colleges and universities increased 60% between 1993 and 2009 according to Bloomberg, 10 times the growth in tenured faculty positions
  • Pricey, upgraded campus amenities: Colleges keep upgrading housing, dining, technology, entertainment and fitness options to be competitive when it comes to attracting the most desirable kind of students: those with high GPAs and low need for financial aid. Costs spent per student by colleges are often viewed as attractive or used in comparative college rankings, rewarding institutions who outspend their competitors with increased student demand to attend.
  • Stagnating wages: Wages have not kept pace with inflation and certainly haven’t kept pace with rising college costs. Adjusted for inflation, the average American earns less today than they did in 1988. It’s become virtually impossible for even highly motivated students to be able to pay for college by themselves by working part-time. Stagnating wages also negatively affect graduates’ ability to pay off student loans after graduation.

The lure of a college degree as validation for student debt can be especially deadly for those who never graduate. 60% of students who start at a 4-year college graduate within the next six years. That leaves 40% without the college degree usually required to get better jobs but still likely burdened by student debt. It shouldn’t be too shocking to learn, then, that it’s borrowers with lower levels of student debt who are much more likely to default on their loans. 32% of borrowers with $5,000 or less in student debt defaulted on their loans within a four year period according to a report from The Urban Institute.

There are very real costs to society when young people are burdened by such high levels of debt. A 2017 Federal Reserve study found a correlation between higher student debt and lower rates of home ownership. Deferring marriage, waiting to have children, deciding against graduate school or not taking a lower paying public service job were additional real consequences of student debt, the study found.

College remains a good investment provided that those incurring debt are able to graduate and get their degree because of the value conferred by having a degree. College graduates can expect to make 84% more than a high school graduate, according to a 2011 Georgetown study. That degree value is lower for women and non-whites as well as for degrees such as those in fine arts or less marketable specialties.

It’s likely that overall, the student debt situation will become worse before it becomes better. We might need to get to a real crisis level of default, debt, and inability to fill jobs before politicians find the urgency and motivation to address how we finance college educations and how we manage student debt. We know, as a country, that we’re not producing highly skilled workers at a pace to replace soon to retire professionals. Meanwhile student debt continues to accrue at vast and terrifying pace.

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