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Movie Stars and Healthy Eating

Posted by on March 30, 2012 | No comments

 

If you were to take Susan B. Anthony, Da Vinci, and Plato, and try to find out what they have in common with Brigitte Bardot, it could take a little while.  The common thread is not just that they’re all relatively famous people, but that they had similar tastes in food.  Or at least, similar thoughts about food, considerations that made them choose a lifestyle without meat.  The lists of famous vegetarians seems incongruously populated with great scientists and artists, but also with some very popular movie stars.  It may seem anomalous, but the lists of stars is so extensive that they suggest that being famous also means being privy to more information.

 

When Lisa Bonet was hitting the talk show circuit in the 1990’s, speaking out about her own vegetarian lifestyle, it seemed a little bit revolutionary.  Perhaps it wasn’t revolutionary in any radical sense, but it did seem that she was speaking to a generation that was just beginning to become aware of its role in the environmental shifts across the globe.  In the intervening years, these changes in consciousness have become somewhat mainstream.  That doesn’t make them any less valuable, or important, but does illustrate that there are those who pave trails and make it possible for others to follow suit.  Where vitamins and nutrients are essential in the body’s own muscle building, healthy choices also have effects on the rest of the world.

 

The illustrious list of vegetarians in history also demonstrates something else.  Like any kind of cycle, the attention to healthy lifestyles is something that is not unique to contemporary times, but comes around at least once every generation.  The current interest in amino acids and nutrition comes from the latest findings in health technologies, but combines this with the ongoing concern for how to live a better life.  It is no wonder that some of the great thinkers are on the list, because consideration for one’s health and diet is part of the examined life that is so worth living.  It is likewise no wonder that movie stars are also on this list.  Having access to alternatives in terms of health, along with the resources to find some solutions toward healthy living, can make it easier to implement these healthy choices.  And what benefits the rest of the world is that they are willing to use their visibility as stars to let the world know that such choices are readily available, and the benefits are palpable.

 

 

 

 

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Car Breakdowns in Movies

Posted by on December 19, 2011 | One comment

It’s never going to be an easy thing.  Even in today’s day and age, with advances in communications technologies, a breakdown on a trip is not fun.  It is very different, however, now that it’s not such a threatening experience to be stranded in the middle of nowhere.  Remote regions often have signal, and gps has done wonders for keeping people on the beaten path.  But it does happen, and not everyone wants or needs automatic roadside assistance, and can take care of things with a little foresight, and an oldsmobile online repair manual.  But everyone who has been in the situation more than once can tell a story or two that are more than a little cinematic.

Not everyone is going to have an experience that is worthy of another “It Happened One Night,” where the lead characters fall in love for the very first time.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Even more, very rarely are they lucky enough to be traveling with Clark Gable or Claudette Colbert.  But just as the actors in a film are meant to stand in for the people in the audience, personal experiences with being stuck on the side of the road come to stand in for larger metaphors in the world.  That is the great appeal about those scenes, in fact, where the leads are stuck somewhere between places.  It’s not a coincidence that they can serve to remind the viewer of a time when they were stuck, and at the same time serve as a dramatic suggestion that the characters in the film are lost.

Being lost in a film is different than in real life, of course.  If the film is memorable at all, it won’t be as boring as a real experience can be, in part because in film there are no Haynes manuals online (at www.haynes.com) to get the characters out of the situation.  When the leads are lost, like in the “Sure Thing,” they are forced to do things that are heroic or extraordinary.  The Cusack character pretends he is crazy, recalling his previous goofiness and turning it into an asset so that we can accept the Zuniga character’s falling for him.  Colbert shows a little leg, which literally stops traffic and sets up the attraction.  In both of these actions, the characters are revealing themselves in very significant ways, demonstrating through action what they are capable of.  When people off screen are stuck, there are more methods that may seem a little less heroic, but perhaps in the larger picture they do amount to the very same things.

Roger Deveraux is a sports writer and movie buff who writes racers like Jeff Gordon, Danica Patrick, and Jeff Burton.  He also tries to attend all the top US races each season.

Hot Rod: SNL Returned

Posted by on December 15, 2011 | No comments

There are some movies that change people’s lives for ever. Films that top the critics’ lists, like “Jaws” or “Blue Velvet,” are capable of introducing a whole generation of movie goers to a new way of looking at reality. And then there are films that, like Hot Rod,” don’t do much of anything. Except, for the 90 minutes that we spend watching it, those are some of the most fun moments we may have had in awhile. If we’re daydreaming, it’s about raceline wheels or something equally elegant, slick, and cool, and not about the usual problems that we tend to take with us into the movie theatre.

The zany, feel-good movie may have been in hiding for awhile, but in 2007, these SNL regulars brought it back to life. There have been plenty of comedies, and plenty by other SNL cast members, for sure, but they were tending toward a rather dark and cynical look at the world. To enjoy them fully, audiences had to enter into the outlook fully, but “Hot Rod” made it all right not to be embarrassed not to be gloomy. It even made it cool again. That’s not a small task, either, considering the way the show has gone in the popular opinion over the last decade. With few exceptions (Will Ferrell being perhaps at the top of the list), there haven’t been many shining moments on the show, and fewer still by the SNL alumni on the big screen. It’s been more than one critics’ experience where, seeing one of the offshoot films is a bit like chewing on exploding caps. Eventually, it’s going to get a little bit painful. However, that seems to be shifting, and one might wonder exactly what kind of turn things have taken.

Interviews with SNL cast members involved with the film reveals a dynamic that hasn’t been around for a very long time. In a film where everything could be reduced to michelin jokes in order to fill out a prescription for a comedy, this one took chances. The chances seem to have come from the very center of what’s risky for anyone in the comedy business: the things that make people laugh to begin with. And there’s a certain sense that these folks are used to making each other laugh, on and off the set, and they still enjoy it. There’s a freshness to the sharing of each other’s company, one that rubs off on television as well as in the movies. It looks like things have taken a wonderful turn.

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The Mortgage Meltdown

Posted by on November 26, 2011 | No comments

The mortgage meltdown continues to affect many people.

It all started around 2007 with a rise in foreclosures along with subprime mortgage difficulties. The consequence of this was a drop in securities covered by these mortgages. Prior to 2008 the amount of low quality subprime mortgages rose from an average of eight percent up to twenty percent. Most of these were adjustable rate type mortgages. This meant that the new home owner had a low interest rate for the first few years, and then they went up dramatically making the monthly payment outwith their financial reach. Personal debt across the country increased greatly during this time.

Many of these types of mortgage loans were given to buyers with poor credit histories, often with very low down payments. In many cases their financial backgrounds were not investigated via credit reports or tax histories. Therefore many blame the private lending institutions desire for short term profit.
Home prices were at their greatest levels during 2006. After this they began to decline dramatically. At the crest many homeowners took out home equity loans. This refinancing left them in trouble once prices went down.

The result of all this was that securities covered by mortgages lost a great deal of their value. Many investors turned away from purchasing these types of mortgage backed securities and so the financial system started to collapse. The consequence was that credit controls got stricter and countries faced a downturn in their economies.

There is now a glut of foreclosures across the country. Also many people are left paying of a mortgage that is well above the current value of their homes. For them the immediate future does not look particularly bright either.

But many optimists can see light at the end of the tunnels. Favorable mortgage rates and increased home sales mean that things are possibly improving

Movie Co-Stars that could have used Onset Mediation

Posted by on September 30, 2011 | No comments

We all know that, for the most part, what we see in movies is fiction. The story lines are made up, the characters aren’t real. But if a movie is done well, and the actors know what they are doing, a movie can be 100% believable. In fact, sometimes the actors are so good at their jobs that the fact that they don’t get along at all off screen isn’t apparent. But it does happen. Actors and actress fight on set, creating a negative work environment. But they still manage to have chemistry in the movie. But just imagine, if they had someone mediate their disputes how much better the movie would have turned out.

Mediation is a tried and true way of settling disputes. Unlike going to court where only one party wins, with mediation both parties come out on top, working together to resolve their issues and get what they want. Working with a neutral third party, the feuding duo airs their grievances and what they are looking for in the relationship. The mediator keeps things friendly while the parties work out their issues. So much better than complaining about each other and creating an unhealthy work environment.
Here are a few movie co-stars that definitely could have benefited from onset mediation.

Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey
They heated up the screen as Johnny and Baby in Dirty Dancing, but off screen they created a completely different kind of heat. It’s no secret that these two just did not like each other. Patrick thought Jennifer was a bit of a diva and claims in his memoir that she was moody, slipping between tears and laughter at the drop of a hat. And when Jennifer found out that Patrick was her co-star she threw a fit. The two worked together previously in Red Dawn and according to Jennifer they didn’t get along on that set either.

Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn
Pretty much from the moment they both stepped on the set of Four Christmases, these two were fighting. Most of the fights stemmed from Reese’s frustration at Vince’s laid back approach to work. The rumours were that Vince would stroll on set looking like he had been partying all night and it would take him a while to actually get into work mode. Meanwhile Reese, ever the professional, would be all ready to go and would have to wait for Vince. This is a classic case of personalities clashing.

Richard Gere and Debra Winger
An Officer and a Gentleman is considered one of the most romantic movies of all time. Hard to believe the two leads hated working with each other, but it’s true. The fighting was so bad that Winger was almost fired several times. She also claims that making the movie was the worst experience of her life.

Bill Murray and Lucy Lui
These two apparently had a spat on the set of Charlie’s Angels because Murray thought Lui had a huge ego and couldn’t act. Things blew when Murray told Lui she couldn’t act and Lui threw a punch or two. Murray disliked her so much that he refused to do any publicity for the movie and turned down the role in Charlie’s Angels 2 because he wouldn’t work with Lui.

Each and everyone of these feuding costars could have greatly benefited from online mediation. For the most part the fights occurred because of a personality difference. With mediation, a mediator would have helped the costars to realize why they were feuding and help them come up with some solutions and coping strategies. This would have not only helped them onset, but also in future projects, if they ever end up working together again. Mediation is a much, much better alternative to fighting.
Do you think mediation training could have helped these fighting costars?

Transformers Dark of the Moon in Theaters Today

Posted by on June 29, 2011 | No comments

The latest explosion fest from director Michael Bay – Transformers: Dark of the Moon – debuts in theaters today, June 29, 2011. To celebrate the movie’s most likely successful launch, Chevrolet, pardon the pun, is in full gear and ramping up production on their new 2012 line of Camaros. The latest General Motors vehicles including Chevrolet’s Camaro have debuted in every Transformers film since 2007. Based on a line of children’s toys created by Hasbro Entertainment, the Transformers are a race of sentient alien robots that hide on earth disguised as common machines from cars to giant mining excavators . In the film there are two warring factions of Transformers: the protagonists, the virtuous Autobots; and the antagonists, the villainous Decepticons.

In the first Transformers film, one of the main characters — an Autobot named Bumblebee – was disguised as a fifth generation Chevy Camaro. Bumblebee has had a recurring role in the Transformers series receiving an upgrade to the latest Camaro model with reach release, the latest film in the series – Dark of the Moon is no different. In the last film Bumblebee was disguised as an average yellow and black fifth generation Camaro, but in the new film the Bumblebee will appear as a new 2012 Special Edition Camaro with new deep amber paint jpob and dark black rims versus the chrome rims that were standard on the Concept Chevy Camaro.

Transformers Special Edition Camaro Exterior

And in a move that hasn’t surprised anyone, Chevy recently announced that dealerships will start accepting pre-orders for the new Transformers Special Edition 2012 Camaro in July, which is scheduled to be released this September. The new Special Edition Camaro is $3000 upgrade and only available to Rally Yellow 2SS and 2LT Camaro Coupes. To match the appearance of the Camaro in the film, the Special Transformers Edition Camaro comes with a two black racing stripes and a rear spoiler, not to mention the awesome black wheels. The car also features a leather interior with yellow trim and Transformer decals.

Transformers Special Edition Camaro Interior

People will no doubt be lining up to purchase the new Special Transformers Edition Camaro, but the one thing that Chevy could include the make the entire package even better is unique manual. It would be awesome if Chevy included a Haynes manual that had in-depth information about how to repair a Transformer like Bumblebee disguised as a 2012 Camaro. Haynes has made some really cool manuals for auto body repair and have even been known to dabble in the more fantastical manuals (Star Trek space ship manuals anyone), so it wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for the company. And it’s not like it would be all that difficult to do since he is already part Camaro so they would only really have to add all of the other cool transformer parts. Dark of the Moon stars Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, Tyrese Gibson, and newcomer Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and is in theaters today.

Picture courtesy of General Motors

Via Consumer Reports & General Motors

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Buying Tires for the First Time

Posted by on May 4, 2011 | No comments

People watching is an imaginative sport. Sitting in a lobby, courtyard, or other public venue and watching the ebb and flow of other people can offer interesting insights into the human condition. Some people are easier to spot than others, like someone who is buying something large for the first time. Peek into the sales floor of any tire dealer and it is easy to tell the experienced tire buyers from the first timer.

There are some first time shoppers who do their homework ahead of time. They have learned about the difference between tires and rims and can quickly decipher the various ratings and sizes listed on any tire. They may even have read recent consumer reviews and know what the going price is for the tires they want. Most newbies are far from this. They know they need tires and that the store sells tires and that’s about it.

Those first time tire buyers need to accept responsibility for their own learning curve. They need to follow the example outlined above or bring along an experienced tire buyer to advise them. There are lots of honest and honorable people selling tires who will happily explain things to new buyers, however, there are also less than reputable salesmen who just want to make their quota and get a good commission. Some cheap tires are a great deal and will last a long time while others are a bad investment. The only way a first time buyer can know the difference is if they take the time to learn about tires before walking into the showroom.

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Maps Continue to Evolve

Posted by on April 27, 2011 | No comments

Physical objects are generally believed to be static. In the case of maps, this is both true and false. While a printed map can’t be changed once it comes off the press and ends up on someone’s hands, the truth is that the concept of place that a map represents is subject to constant change.

Think about the globes that most people had in their elementary school classrooms. A fair number of the countries depicted on a globe from twenty or thirty years ago have now changed. The fall of the USSR and the Berlin Wall saw to that, as did decades of civil wars and revolutions in Africa and southeast Asia. Countries rise and fall and are renamed on a regular basis. This requires maps to be revised and replaced with new versions.

Aside from political machinations and changing governments, the actual geography of the world is subject to alterations. Shifting tectonic plates result in the creation of mountains and volcanoes. Both nature and man are able to manufacture new islands. Land is also changed by movement of rivers, erosion, and the rising and falling of the oceans. And don’t forget that earthquakes can cause land to move, just as Japan did as a result of the 2011 quake.

In these cases, as well as those in which new roads, bodies of water, or even towns and cities are built, a digital map has an advantage over physical maps, because it can be constantly updated to reflect changes of all kinds.

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Psychology at Work in the Legal System

Posted by on April 21, 2011 | No comments

Psychology is the study of the human psyche. Understanding how the human mind works, what motivates it and being able to predict, to a degree, the likely actions of an individual based on their behavioral patterns, personality , and other considerations is the stuff of applied psychology. These specialists deal with human behavior in practice, not theory. Many of them have found a home in the legal system, helping assist the judicial process at every stage.

Law enforcement agencies, courts, prisons, and related organizations have all found uses for forensic psychologists. Individuals who successfully complete a forensic psychology graduate program will find their advanced skills in demand in a wide variety of positions and can choose to work in whatever part of the system appeals most to their personality and career goals.

Some common jobs for psychologists in the legal system:

  • criminal profiler
  • expert witness
  • court psychologist conducting evaluations of victims, criminals, and other parties involved in court cases
  • staff psychologist in charge of evaluating employees and offering counseling services
  • prison psychologist
  • working with parolees and those on probation
  • counseling victims individually or in support groups
  • administering programs to address the needs of communities with high crime rate and/or helping at risk populations.

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LA Theme Parks

Posted by on April 17, 2011 | No comments

It’s impossible to know how many families travel to Los Angeles every year just to visit the area’s many theme and water parks. No doubt the number would be very high, if it could be calculated. With four major theme parks and four large water parks all within easy distance of the Los Angeles Airport, it’s clear that many of the families making use of the shuttle to LAX services are headed to one or more of the parks.

Knott’s Berry Farm holds the distinction of being the oldest theme park in the United States. It was also the first theme park to open in America. It features modern rides as well as a recreation of a ghost town circa 1880.

The big kahuna of theme parks is, of course, Disneyland. Founded in 1955, it was the first Disney park. In 2001 the California Adventure Park opened, providing a much needed expansion of the park and featuring a back lot tour.

Universal Studios is the other park with a Hollywood connection. The Studio Tour is part movie history, part ride and the premiere attraction at Universal. There are also movie-based rides, shops, and entertainment.

Located in the San Fernando Valley is Six Flags Magic Mountain. It has some of the most popular and famous rides in the country. The park encompasses the Warner Brothers Theme Park, with rides based on Warner Brothers Films.

The four water parks in the area are Knott’s Soak City and Hurricane Harbor Water Park (part of Six Flags), Wild River Waterpark, and Raging Waters which is the largest water park in California.

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