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05/07/2010
IconSome Really Cool Things I Learned At Ebay Live! By Cliff Ennico cennico@legalcareer.com If you are selling stuff on eBay, and missed last weekend#146;s eBay Live! conference in New Orleans (co-sponsored by eBay and Entrepreneur magazine), shame on you! More than 12,000 of your competitors were there, and they came away with some great advice about how to build their eBay businesses from over 100 of America#146;s leading business experts (including myself, who spoke on how to avoid being sued by disgruntled buyers). When not speaking myself, I tried to attend as many of the classes, workshops and roundtable discussions as I could. Here are some of the best tips I picked up: To see some of the weirdest things being sold on eBay, go to the home page and type #147;one of a kind#148; or #147;OOAK#148; into the search engine (Jim #147;Griff#148; Griffith, author of #147;The Official eBay Bible#148;) #150; a warning, though, some of this stuff is not for the squeamish When choosing #147;keywords#148; to advertise your auction sites on the popular search engines (such as Google or Yahoo!), do not use somebody else#146;s registered trademark, as the trademark owner can sue you for infringement (Catherine Seda, author of #147;Search Engine Advertising#148;) Don#146;t rely on accountants to tell you about all the tax deductions you can take when running an eBay business; you will be able to deduct more than most accountants will allow if you learn the rules yourself (Barbara Weltman, author of #147;J.K. Lasser#146;s Small Business Taxes 6th edition#148;) More than 20 states have adopted legislation in support of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project (SSTP), which requires out-of-state vendors such as eBay sellers to charge sales tax when selling to in-state consumers; a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision forbids states from enforcing the SSTP, but legislation is pending in Congress to reverse this decision and allow states to pursue out-of-state vendors who don#146;t comply with the SSTP (Steve DelBianco, Executive Director of the NetChoice Coalition) When hiring employees, don#146;t look for #147;safe#148; people #150; people you know won#146;t sue you if things don#146;t work out; instead, hire the #147;right#148; people for your business and learn to manage them the right way so lawsuits won#146;t happen (Eric Winegardner, Director of Product Certification for monster.com) Don#146;t just list your auction on eBay#146;s site in the United States; for a small additional fee, you can list your auction on each of eBay#146;s overseas sites and reach millions of overseas buyers who don#146;t frequent the U.S. site (John and Kim Kincaid, CollectorBookstore.com) According to a recent survey, 83% of eBay buyers won#146;t even look at your auction site unless you have posted a digital photo of the item you are selling (#147;Beginning Digital Photography#148;, a free handout from the Hewlett-Packard Corporation) By listing your auction site with eBay Giving Works, you can donate a portion of each sale to your favorite charity (#147;eBay Giving Works#148;) Consider changing your eBay user name to your Website address #150; that way people interested in your auction listings can visit your Website and see what else you#146;ve got for sale that isn#146;t on eBay (Chris Murch, President of the eBay Radio Network) If you still don#146;t think eBay isn#146;t #147;big business#148; these days, more than 100 entrepreneurs rented booths on the trade show floor at eBay Live! to talk about the resources they provide for eBay sellers. Some of the more interesting exhibitors I talked to were: The Disabled Online Users Association (DOUA), a nonprofit organization formed to helped handicapped people start eBay businesses out of their homes iSold ItTM, a nationwide franchise of eBay consignment shops formed to help sellers who don#146;t have Internet access, can#146;t figure out how a digital camera works, or otherwise do not want to list their auctions themselves Diane Kennedy#146;s TaxLoopholesTM, which provides a three-day #147;tax strategy camp#148; to teach eBay sellers about all of the business tax deductions they can take TalkinAuction.com, which helps you add audio commentary to your eBay auction listings WhatsItWorthToYou.com, which will review digital photos of your merchandise and give you online appraisals of specific items for $9.95 each MyStoreCredit.com, which helps you offer #147;in-store credits#148; to successful bidders in your eBay auctions that they can use if they bid successfully in your future auctions FreightQuote.com, which calculates the shipping charges for your eBay merchandise and helps you post a #147;calculator#148; on each auction listing so your buyers can figure out the shipping, handling and insurance charges without your having to do it for them #150; really useful if you are running lots of auctions and don#146;t want to calculate shipping for each one separately. Cliff Ennico ( cennico@legalcareer.com ) is a syndicated columnist, author and host of the PBS television series 'Money Hunt'. This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com . COPYRIGHT 2004 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconCreative Ways to Raise Money To Start a Home Based Business Carrie Lauth is a work from home Mom of 3 www.money-smart-women.com If you're like many women who want to start a home based business, one of the things that may be stopping you is a lack of funds. While there are many new Network Marketing and Direct Sales businesses that are free to join, it will take at least some money to get things rolling...money for business cards, inexpensive marketing and advertising methods, postage, your own personal products to experiment with, samples, etc. Even if you are starting an online business that markets a service, or that has no physical product, you will need money for domain name registration, web site hosting, low cost advertising and the like. Here are some ideas for raising the needed capital. Get a loan Do you have a relative who would loan you the money to get started? What about that Great Aunt who always said you'd be great in your own business? How about Mom or Grandma? Perhaps they would accept barter (your new product, for instance...good rejection-proof way to get them hooked on it!) in lieu of repayment? Does Grandma have a shed full of stuff that she's been wanting to sell on eBay but doesn't have the energy? Would Mom like to have her house cleaned for the next few months? Ask your sponsor for help If you join a MLM (Multi Level Marketing company) ask your upline sponsor if they would consider buying the starter kit for you, and then taking the profits from your first parties or commission checks as repayment? Some sponsors do this already, but if not, she may be so impressed with your drive to succeed that she will say yes. Have a yard sale This is what I did to get started in my business. This one has twofold benefits...you're making some extra cash but also have a captive audience of people coming to you! If you're really energetic, go around to your neighbors and tell them that if they leave their castaways in a box on the curb, you will come pick them up. Do this before your sale. Slap a price tag on the merchandise and cha-ching! Be sure to make a sign advertising your new product or service and plenty of flyers or business cards to give to each shopper. Sell some stuff on eBay Sell things from your own home (name brand kid's clothes and popular book titles are easy and almost always pull a good price). Go to library book sales and buy books for .10 or .25 and list those. Use your my eBay page to advertise your new website! Release the clutter, sell a useless piece of furniture or item in your home For me, it was the dusty electric guitar. Kitchen appliances (you know what I'm talking about here!) that were going to make your life easier, exercise equipment that makes you feel guilty when you trip over it... Use the money you receive from your tax return Pre-sell the product I got this one from my beloved Kim Klaver. Go around to your tribe (the people who love you enough to do anything you say), your coworkers, neighbors, playgroup Mommies, and show them a "picture" of the product, tell them what it does, collect the checks, deposit them and order your product. You buy the product wholesale and they pay the retail price so you make a profit. Do a quick, temporary odd job A friend of mine just did this one. She put a sign up at a local health food market that said "Non-toxic cleaning services". (Notice that she created a niche). That day she got a call, did a job for an elderly women and made $150. Of course, she used her own nontoxic cleaning product and will probably end up getting a customer out of the deal too! Babysitting for a couple of weeks, dogsitting, housesitting...you get the picture. Talk to your husband Notice I'm leaving this one until last! Hopefully you have the kind of relationship where your husband will be overjoyed that you want to improve your financial standing. If you garner his support in the beginning he is much more likely to be helpful along your journey, with the inevitable ups and downs of business life. Carrie Lauth is a work from home Mom of 3. Visit her on the web at: www.money-smart-women.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Sleepover" A Movie Review The Movie Reporter By Philip Boatwright www.moviereporter.com Coming-of-age comedy starring Alexa Vega, Mika Boorem, Jane Lynch, and Sara Paxton. In the summer before their freshman high school year, four girls have a slumber party during which they attempt to shed their less-than-cool reputations. Challenged to a scavenger hunt by their #147;popular#148; rivals, our heroines sneak into a nightclub, hijack a parent#146;s car, seek their first kiss, and begin to learn more about themselves. Though the 14-year-old lead tells a few fibs and gets caught up with the fears of high school social status, she and her fellow 9th-graders are the antithesis of the young protagonists of #147;Thirteen.#148; True, the main character gives her over-protective mother the usual eye-rolling attitude (an outward reflection of the metamorphosis known as female teenhood), but she possesses a sweetness and concern for others that is no doubt a reflection of how she has been raised. When, for instance, the mean girl of the story belittles a classmate for being overweight, Julie (Alexa Vega from the #147;Spy Kids#148; trilogy)immediately embraces the wounded girl into her group, signifying her distain for injustice and clearly judging others more for what#146;s inside a person than the outside. Director Joe Nussbaum (making his feature debut) and writer Elisa Bell (#147;Vegas Vacation,#148; #147;Thirty Wishes#148;) keep things lively. With wit and affection, the filmmakers address the subject of fitting in, but,more importantly, they pass along a message to teen girls that spunk and personality should never take a backseat to physical appearance. That said, the film never becomes preachy. Wisely borrowing heart andhumor from films such as #147;Ferris Bueller#146;s Day Off#148; and #147;Sixteen Candles,#148; they choose to entertain first, teach second. Now, this story is about teen girls and aimed at preteen girls, so adult characters are reduced to the same clicheacute;s as in a thousand other adolescent screen adventures. What#146;s more, the girls are never punished for their nocturnal antics that include driving without a license and vandalizing a security cop#146;s car. However, the humor targeted at buffoonish grownups is never really mean spirited. What#146;s more, the mother rises above the stereotype to be realized as a smart, cool and caring parent. Sorry, guys, the father figure doesn#146;t fare as well. Although loving, he#146;s a bit of a boob. PG (a couple of minor expletives, but I caught no harsh or profane language; the #147;cool#148; girls hold up thong panties, implying that#146;s what they wear; while in a bar, an underaged girl orders a drink with a distinctly sexual title, but she is given a ginger ale #150; she#146;s not there to drink alcohol, but to fulfill the obligations of the treasure hunt; the girls tell fibs and sneak out; a visual grosses out the girls when they see the lead#146;s dad bending down, working under the sink, his pants not quite fitting; one flatulence gag when a dog eats too much pizza #150; it brought the biggest laugh from the screening#146;s mostly juvenile audience; the girls get a date off the internet #150; and while they make a point that it is a safe website, still the practice of hooking up with someone from the internet is not a good film message; a girl sneaks into a boy#146;s house to get his boxer shorts for the scavenger hunt #150; she sees him from behind #150; her eyes wide #150; as he disrobes; while some of this content is objectionable, the overall mood is sweet-spirited, lacking the usual amounts of crudity aimed at a young audience, and the messages in the film are mostly positive, with the lead girls learning respect and helping little girls in the theater realize that that they are not alone with insecurities and fears of life#146;s unknowns; however, the naughty behavior should be discussed #150; attempting to buy alcohol and slashing the tires of a security guard#146;s car #150; it may work for comedy in a movie, but in real life there are consequences for such antics). For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconGrocery Savings Made Easy By Tawra Kellam www.livingonadime.com For many people, making the decision to switch from two incomes to one can be a scary experience. They know they're spending too much, but don't know where to begin to cut back. Most people don't think they can live the frugal life and still be comfortable. I feed my family of 5 on $175 month. In 5 years my husband earned an average of $22,000 per year. In those 5years we paid off $20,000 debt. There are countless ways you can cut, but if you are a frugal beginner, try these simple suggestions from Not Just Beans for saving on your food bill first. Before you shop, take a tour through your pantry and your refrigerator. Be organized! Don't buy what's already hiding in your kitchen.If you're a fan of coupons, remember this: It#146;s not what you save, it#146;s what you spend. If you save 30 cents on something you wouldn#146;t ordinarily buy anyway, you haven#146;t really saved anything. A typical fruit item is significantly larger than one serving. Most people would be just ashappy eating a small apple as eating a large one so buy smaller fruits! This month, try two meatless meals a week (or one, if you're a diehard meat fan). Use meat as an ingredient instead of a main dish. A good recipe for this is Green Chile. It uses only frac12;-1 pound of pork. Cut back on the juice and milk. Use the money you've saved from eating less meat and drinking less juice and buy something that's on sale. Those sale items will help you cut back even further next month. In staying at home, it's the little things that add up so start small! Green Chile frac12; 1 lb. pork roast, or chops cubed into small pieces 10 frac12; oz. chicken broth 1 onion, finely chopped frac14; #150; frac12; tsp. garlic powder 1 can (7 oz.) green chiles, diced frac14; jalapeno, finely chopped 1 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. flour, dissolved in water white flour tortillas Toppings cheddar cheese, gratedlettuce, shreddedtomato, sour cream Simmer pork in broth on low for 10 minutes. Add all other ingredients except flour and simmer 45 minutes. Thicken with flour so it is like a thick soup. Spoon about 1/4 cup into the center of a flour tortilla. Roll up tortilla and top with more green chile. Sprinkle with cheese, lettuce and tomato. Top with sour cream if desired. This green chile freezes really well. Steak and Mushroom Gravy 1 Tbsp. margarine frac12; onion, chopped 5 Tbsp. flour salt and pepper (to taste) 5 Tbsp. dry milk 2 cups water 1 2 cups leftover beef 1 small can mushroom pieces 1 tsp. beef bouillon powder Melt margarine in a large skillet and sauteacute; onion. Mix flour, salt and pepper and dry milk in a jar. Add water and shake. Stir into onions until simmering and thickened. Add beef, bouillon powder and drained mushrooms. Reduce the heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, until heated through. Serve over noodles, rice or mashed potatoes or toast. Serves 4. Tawra Kellam is the author of the frugal cookbook " Not Just Beans: 50 Years of Frugal Family Favorites ." "Not Just Beans" is a frugal cookbook which has over 540 recipes and 400 tips. For more free tips and recipes visit her web site at www.LivingOnADime.com . In 5 years, Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 personal debt on an average income of $22,000 per year. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"America#146;s Heart Soul" - Disney Documentary Review The Movie Reporter By Philip Boatwright www.moviereporter.com Director - Louis Schwartzberg Opens 7/2/04 #147;The most joyous filmgoing-experience I can remember.#148; Phil Boatwright, The Movie Reporter It#146;s Friday night, you#146;re looking through the entertainment section of the paper, searching for a film the whole family can enjoy. You spot the ad for #147;America#146;s Heart Soul.#148; You#146;ve heard of it. But, someone says, #147;It#146;s a documentary.#148; #147;A documentary!#148; you exclaim. #147;Who wants to see a documentary on a Friday night?#148; So you pass onto the next advertisement. Big mistake. Huge mistake. At the press screening, I turned to a friend about midway through the film and told her, #147;I don#146;t want this to end.#148; That#146;s something I have never said about a movie. Funny, moving, insightful, breathtaking, inspiring, it#146;s everything you want in a movie-going experience. Best of all, it#146;s a wonderful example of how film can unite people. A gifted documentarian, Louis Schwartzberg has packed up his camera and hit the road, with a goal of capturing both the unparalleled beauty of the U.S. and the incomparable spirit of its people. Unobtrusively, the filmmaker delves into the lives of ordinary Americans, who just so happen to have extraordinary stories, seamlessly blending their values, dreams, and passions into a spirited and well-paced film-event. In an era of #147;reality#148; programming that generally focuses on the negative and cynical, #147;America#146;s Heart Soul#148; gives us a positive and powerful glimpse into the diversity of our country#146;s citizenry. It celebrates our commonality #150; our innermost need to dream and to find our place. Some of the vignettes will cause your sides to ache from laugher, while others will bring a tear to your eye. Just to spotlight a very few: There#146;s the aged gospel singer who joyfully proclaims, #147;I#146;m a child of the King,#148; as she prances across the stage, defying her years; the Appalachian woman who profoundly, and rather poetically, analyzes the human experience; the father/son team who enter a marathon, the younger man suffering from ALS, the father professing, #147;I#146;m the legs, he#146;s the heart#148;; the sculptor who collects junk, calling it #147;rusty gold#148; and finding love and respect through his art; the blind mountain climber who has a grateful appreciation for what he has; and the salsa dancers who evidence the skill and interpretation of dance. The documentary also pays homage to our nation#146;s religious beliefs, paying close attention to uplifting gospel music and several visuals that spotlight the Christian faith, while still other portions examine the eccentric, the inspiring and the emotional traits that make up the mutt-like pedigree that is uniquely American. I#146;d suggest sharing this cinematic treasure with friends, half the fun being the appreciative discussion during the drive home. PG (I found nothing objectionable or exploitive. The intent of the filmmaker is to present a positive view of what America is and what it can become.) For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconThe Kids are coming, the kids are coming#133;. Tracy Lyn Moland www.TracyLynMoland.com The countdown is on #150; only 42 more days of school. The kids are ecstatic and the parents in fear. We all have different summer memories #150; great times, boring times, and traveling. Summer is a wonderful time but it can certainly come with some challenges. Our children are out of school and that can mean some interesting scheduling. Unfortunately, the working world does not generally allow for holidays that mirror the local school systems. However, with a bit of advance planning parents can ensure that they avoid bored kids and maintain their own sanity. The following tips can be very helpful in staying sane with the kids out of school: Plan ahead #150; Look closely at your schedule now. Are there certain days or events that pop out for you? Do you have some important meetings, guests or travel for work? Is there certain events that take place in your city? Do you have company coming? Mark these events on a main calendar so you can plan around them. Ask your children what they want to do #150; Last summer I had all these things that I thought we would do. My children had other plans. With over 15 children living on our cul de sac they were content to hang out here and play outside with their friends. If your children do want to take certain programs, you may need to book now. Research your city #150; Many cities offer a lot of interesting programs during the summer. These can range from free to paid programs. There may be park programs, day camps, summer camps, festivals, or shows. Your church, community center or school may run programs. The more you are aware of the more options available to you. Chose and commit to a few events #150; Coordinate your schedule and the events in your city. If you have a busy work week this may be the perfect week to enroll your children in a bible camp or a sports camp. If there is a fun festival, maybe you can take a day or 2 off work and hang out with your children. Enlist help #150; Find out what your children#146;s friends are up to for the summer. Our children miss their friends so see if you can alternate some childcare. Have your children#146;s friends over one week and then send your children to their house the next week. Visit family #150; I have more time off than my husband so often I will head out to visit friends and family in other cities. We also will invite family to come visit us. We may all head into the mountains for the day or just stay home and let the kids play and adults relax and visit. Take a road trip #150; head out of town for a day or two. There is often some pretty neat stuff in close driving distance that you never have time to get to. Learn the history of your area, see the sites or relax on a beach. Act like a tourist #150; what do tourists do in your city? Where do you send your company? Pretend you are visiting and do these things. Get to know your community and explore. Alter your schedule #150; In the hot summer months, move the children#146;s rooms to the basement. Allow your children to share a room, sleep in or stay up later. Changes in routine and schedule can be a fun way to add variety to the summer! Allow Imaginations to Soar #150; By adding a few new ideas and events into your summer months you can avoid boredom for the children and frustration for you. However don#146;t forget that sometimes in the summer the most fun comes from the fact that we can do nothing at all. Children create amazing games with their friends while playing outside or watching the clouds. Free Events Playground programs, wading pools. splash parks, bible schools, nature trails, hiking, lakes/rivers/beaches, biking, rollerblading, library programs Paid Ideas sport camps, animal camps/zoo events, imagination/science/fantasy camps, movies, festivals, amusement parks, swimming lessons, waterparks Summer is truly a special time. Take advantage of all that is available to you and your family and have fun! Tracy Lyn Moland is an author, speaker and consultant specializing in improving the lifestyle of Mothers by providing solutions to them and to those that sell to them. She is the author of the best selling, Mom Management, Managing Mom Before Everybody Else (tgot, 2003). For more information visit, www.TracyLynMoland.com . Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"The Notebook" Movie Review The Movie Reporter By Philip Boatwright www.moviereporter.com Starring: Ryan Gosling, Gena Rowlands, Rachel McAdams, Joan Allen, James Garner. New Line. Drama, romance. W-Jeremy Levin, based on a book by Nicholas Sparks. D-Nick Cassavetes. It#146;s the type of drama/romance/life-lesson one expects from Hallmark Hall of Fame, but seldom finds at the local cineplex. And although it has two fresh faces in the lead roles, it also has some well-seasoned ones with nearly as much screen time. It#146;s a love story we might have seen back in Hollywood#146;s Golden Era. What#146;s more, it#146;s good. The cynical side of me wonders, however, what kind of reception it will receive from those who think, #147;It ain#146;t a movie if something doesn#146;t explode!#148; The story concerns an elderly man (Garner) who reads from a faded notebook to the Alzheimer#146;s-suffering woman (Rowlands) he regularly visits at a nursing home. As he recites from the diary, we are taken back in time to a quiet town and the beginnings of true love between a young couple (Gosling and McAdams). They are a sweet pair who obviously belong together, but not unlike Romeo and Juliet, have interfering parents ready to douse our young lovers with a cold pale of water at just the right moment. Along with over-protective folks, the couple is further separated by misunderstanding and the battle cry of World War II. But as Garner continues to read to Rowlands, whose character only has brief moments of lucidity, we continue with our trek back in time to see the sweethearts passionately reunite 14 years later after their lives have taken different paths. My favorite TV show of all time is the #145;90s English situation comedy #147;As Time Goes By,#148; starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. That series concerned a couple separated by misunderstanding and time, only to find one another thirty-some years later. #147;The Notebook#148; borrows freely from this concept, perhaps not quite as satisfyingly, but with the same tenderness and regard for amore. Definitely a date flick, #147;The Notebook#148; is an involving tale of love lost and found, of new beginnings and second chances. #147;It is a story of unconditional love. They love each other through everything that comes up. And it#146;s probably the most passionate display of young love I#146;ve ever seen in a movie. By that I mean the intensity of the feelings,#148; says author Nicholas Sparks (#147;Time In A Bottle,#148; #147;A Walk To Remember#148;), whose novel the film is based upon. Indeed, the story deals with themes seldom seen in movies these days, that of lifelong commitment and the sanctity of the marriage covenant. #147;The film is the closest adaptation of one of my works. I was so pleased with the outcome, I agreed to do the DVD commentary and I#146;ll be doing all sorts of promotion for the film,#148; Sparks adds. While the film does contain brief content that may raise the eyebrows of some Sunday school teachers, nothing is done of an exploitive manner. Nor is the film done to titillate. It is about romance and love, not bedroom gymnastics. Although we are never privy to the religious beliefs of the couple, the film#146;s main characters are believers in the marriage contract #150; for better or worse, in sickness and in health. The narrative gently pays homage to those who seek a soul mate and cherish one true and lasting love. While Mr. Gosling is not all that charismatic, his costar holds our attention every time she appears in a scene. Ms. McAdams gives a standout performance that ranges from humorous to heart wrenching, as do her elder costars, James Garner and Gena Rowlands. New Line Cinema should be congratulated for the courage of incorporating a positive message concerning marriage and giving us a movie where nothing explodes. Good luck, New Line. PG-13: (3 misuses of God#146;s name; 3 obscenities and several minor expletives; some drinking; brief wartime violence; there is some sensuality as the young couple are drawn together, but any scene dealing with sex is handled with discretion, cutting away before becoming graphic; it is implied that the male lead sleeps with a woman outside marriage during the years he is separated from his true love; the main couple does eventually sleep together before marriage, their years of pent-up passion needing release, but even these scenes are devoted more to their abiding love than mere sexuality; as I say, there is some sexuality, but the point of the story is the covenant between two people who were fortunate enough to find each other - twice). Video Alternative: If the content prohibits you from viewing this film allow me to suggest the following: #147;C.S. Lewis Through The Shadowlands.#148; Not to be confused with the Anthony Hopkins/Debra Winger version, this English film stars Josh Ackland and Clair Bloom. A lovely film about the renown author#146;s friendship and eventual marriage to a woman who discovers she is dying. DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
Icon"Two Brothers" Movie Review The Movie Reporter By Philip Boatwright www.moviereporter.com Starring: Guy Pierce, Christian Clavier. Universal. Family live-action adventure. W- Jean-Jacques Annaud, Alain Godard. D- Jean-Jacques Annaud. In 1989, #147;The Bear,#148; a captivating movie about the adventures of an orphaned bear cub and its protector, a giant Kodiak, caused me to exclaim, #147;Wow, what a great film-going experience.#148; The makers of that adventure have just completed #147;Two Brothers,#148; a Rudyard Kipling-ish fable concerning twin tigers whose idyllic life is interrupted by plundering white hunters. Once again, I say, #147;Wow, what a great film-going experience!#148; Bravo to writer/director Jean-Jacques Annaud, who maintains that the greatest special effect is still the process of storytelling. Set in the jungles of Southeast Asia, it quickly becomes apparent that the film is a parable dealing with friendship and the bond between brothers. The two tiger cubs #150; one shy, the other bold #150; are cruelly separated by fate. The bold brother is sold off to a circus, where homesickness and living in a cage rob him of his spirit. The shy cub becomes the beloved companion for the governor#146;s lonely young son, until the child is forced to give him away to a man resolved to break his gentle nature and turn him into a fighter for sport. A year passes and the brothers find themselves reunited #150; but as forced enemies pitted against each other. The often-breathtaking cinematography, the exotic locations filmed around the temples of Angkor near the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, the director#146;s energized pacing, and the actors, especially Guy Pearce (#147;Memento,#148; #147;L.A. Confidential#148;), who seems genuinely simpatico with his feline costars, each blend together, giving viewers a colorful, enchanting tale. Then there are the animals. As cubs the expressive tigers continually garner awes and giggles from the audience. Later, fully grown, they generate a mix of wonder and respect. And thankfully these cats don#146;t talk. Oh, they communicate. Very clearly. But director Annaud and associates wisely eschew conventional voice-over narration and there#146;s no cutesy dialogue uttered by the likes of Gilbert Gottfried. Like people, animals have personality. The fact that the animals#146; persona has been captured on film reflects the regard -- and patience -- the filmmakers have for their subjects. Even more powerful than the tigers, however, is the story itself. It has, dare I say this, an old-fashioned quality. Before special-effects departments became the stars of movies, emphasis was placed on storytelling. Occasionally, as in the case of this film, we see a moviemaker return to the spinning of yarns. As moviegoers have been overdosed on computer gimmickry, the old scenario has become new again. Although Annaud wisely chooses to put his social commentary second to the entertainment value, he does address contemporary issues such as the conservation of nature and the preservation of culture within his morality play. What#146;s more, whether intentional or not, there are striking similarities to several biblical parables about overcoming evil and hatred. The filmmaker captivates with a strong narrative, proving that a witty, well-told yarn is ultimately more satisfying than attacking computer-generated Trojans or Harry Potter wand-pointing wizardry. Annaud gives us an exciting action adventure for the whole family, one with soul, charm and intrigue. PG (Toward the beginning, we see two tigers copulating, resulting in the birth of the film#146;s central figures. But this sequence is handled with discretion. Indeed, the production is careful not to overwhelm or exploit. We see some violence, including the hunting and shooting of tigers, a brief battle between the two brothers, and the animals defending themselves against harsh humans, but gore and excess have been carefully avoided. The film shows how cruel man can be, but also gives examples of his ability to better himself. That said, one scene needs to be pointed out. At one point, a brave boy approaches a grown tiger that he raised. Parents should point out that this is just a movie #150; not real life #150; and that children should not approach wild animals.) DEFINITIONS Crudity - A word or action lacking in culture, tact Expletive - A mild obscenity or needless expression Obscenity - Objectionable or repugnant to acceptable standards of decency or morality; indecent; pornographic Profanity - Irreverence toward God Blasphemy - To speak contemptuously of God Adult subject matter - Situations or subjects unsuitable for or difficult to comprehend by children For further information, visit www.moviereporter.com . "Know Before You Go" reg;Philip Boatwright, Editor Film/Video Reviews from a Family Perspective, Email: moviereporter@sbcglobal.net . Published by C. C. Publications, 835 Northstar Ct., Tonganoxie, KS 66086. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSummer Vacation: Things to do When Traveling by Car By Jodie Lynn www.ParentToParent.com "Mom, Trey hit me," screamed Gabbie. "You grabbed my headphones first and popped me in the ear," shouted Trey. It#146;s one thing when kids are in the house while arguing; you can separate them and put them in their own rooms. But there, inside the car as you try to squeeze all of the different personalities into one small space, tempers are bound to flair, and flair and flair. Especially with these competitive twins. This is the time of year when families begin to plan for their vacations. Due to the uncertainty of overcrowding airplanes and high prices of tickets, when you have four or more kids, many will be taking to the roads via automobiles and need help in trying to make it a good experience. Why do vacations seem more like work than, well, vacations? Some pointers that other kind families have shared are listed below. It#146;s great because through trial and error, these parents have found that they really do work. Plan ahead and get the kids involved in the planning the trip along with a map or road atlas. Discuss what you will see and perhaps get a video of where you are going. Check out possible points of interest along the route and stop there for meals or a stretch. Kids enjoy talking into a tape recorder to "report" what is out the window or other momentary facts. Borrow great classics on tape from the library. Use cassette recorder to play "The Borrowers" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe." Bring along a bag of distractions. Hand them out only as a last resort. Buy things ahead of time by doing shopping on a weekly basis. This will help to spread out the cost and to consider taking things back if you find something you think they might like better. Start your trip early around 3:00 a.m. so the kids will still want to sleep through the morning, make frequent stops to use the bathroom, eat light snacks, run around, stretch at the rest stops and do not let the kids drink caffeine. When traveling with twins, or any kids, get things for them to share and things just for each child. LeapFrog has all kinds of travel kits as well as those that are off brands but are just as entertaining. "Trouble-Free Travel With Children" by Vicki Lansky, (Book Peddlers, $9.95) has tons of things to do with your children as well as plenty of ideas to do before you get started to ensure it is the best one yet. The "Everything Kids Travel Activity Book," by Erik Hansen (Adams Media Corporation, $6.95) has many choices for kids in the age range of 8 to 12. Think about buying music that everyone in the car will enjoy like "The Trees of Life," by Steve Schuch, (Night Heron Music, $15.00) which is now available at www.nightheron.com and "Kids Rock #145;n Roll Party," by ROSENSHONTZ - Gary Rosen and Bill Shontz of Teddy Bears#146; Picnic - (Lightyear Entertainment, $6.95) has cool rock #145;n roll tunes from the 70#146;s in today#146;s kids#146; words and themes. "Dad, I hate to always have to sit by Aunt Martha. She kisses me too much and asks me stupid questions," says Karen. Dad looked at Karen and quietly replied, "Well, you can always sit by your twin sister." "No way, I#146;m not sitting by her! When we pick up Aunt Martha, I will just ask her to listen to my new CD for a while." Dad gave mom a knowing look like, "I told you I could keep things running smooth." Mom glanced at the clock on the dash board, gazed out the window and silently thought, "Yes, as usual, you were right honey, and I can#146;t wait to see how the other fifteen hours go." Jodie Lynn is an internationally syndicated parenting/family columnist. Her latest book is Mommy-CEO, revised edition, Martin-Ola Press . (It's not just for moms!) Please see www.ParentToParent.com for more details. We now have new Mommy, CEO merchandise and logo! copy;2004 Jodie Lynn. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

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05/07/2010
IconSwimming Safety New Research Shows Nearly 9 Out of 10 of Children Who Drowned Were Being Supervised U.S. Surgeon General, Olympic Swimmer Join The National SAFE KIDS Campaign To Educate The Nation about Drowning Prevention April 28, 2004 (NEW YORK) New research revealed today by the National SAFE KIDS Campaign and Johnson Johnson shows that 88 percent of children who drowned were under the supervision of another person, usually a family member. Supervision was defined as being in the care of another individual, not necessarily in their direct line of sight. While better quality supervision is critical, the study also found that many adults were not properly fencing pools, requiring use of personal flotation devices (PFDs), or teaching their children how to swim. Additionally, SAFE KIDS found that the majority (55 percent) of parents say they are "not at all worried" or "not very worried" about their child drowning. Drowning remains the second leading injury-related killer of children ages 1-14, claiming more than 900 children's lives each year. It is a complex issue with no single safety device that works in all cases. Water safety entails the understanding and practice of four water safety wisdoms supervision, environment, gear and education. The report, Clear Danger: A National Study of Childhood Drowning and Related Attitudes and Behaviors, examined the circumstances of drowning deaths occurring in 2000 and 2001 among 496 children using data from Child Death Review Teams in 17 states. SAFE KIDS also commissioned nationally representative surveys of parents (of children 14 and under) and children ages 8 through 12 to determine knowledge, attitudes and behaviors concerning water safety. The research was released today by U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, Olympic gold medalist Jenny Thompson and pediatric trauma surgeon Dr. Martin Eichelberger to launch National SAFE KIDS Week May 1 through 8, 2004 a week-long, nationwide, public education campaign. "Adults need to actively supervise children around water. This means watching and listening at all times and staying close enough to intervene in an emergency," says Dr. Eichelberger, director of Emergency Trauma Services at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and CEO of the National SAFE KIDS Campaign. "We know that parents are well-meaning and don't want to put their children at risk." "We want kids to be active and enjoy swimming but we want them to do it safely," adds Dr. Carmona. "Drowning is a silent killer that can strike even older, more experienced child swimmers." Study Results Supervision More than half (55 percent) of parents say there are some circumstances where it is acceptable for a child to swim unsupervised. Even when parents say they are supervising, many are participating in a variety of distracting behaviors including talking to others (38 percent), reading (18 percent), eating (17 percent) and talking on the phone (11 percent). SAFE KIDS recommends adults take turns serving as the "water watcher" whose sole responsibility is to constantly observe children in or near the water. Environments While 98 percent of pool- or spa-owning parents report they have taken adequate steps to ensure children's safety, most have not made the necessary environmental changes. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of pool or spa-owning parents do not have isolation fencing around their pools or spas, and 43 percent have no self-closing and self-latching gate. Installation and proper use of four-sided isolation fencing could prevent 50-90 percent of residential pool drownings. Gear Many tweens (kids aged 8 to 12) admit they never wear a life jacket when riding on a personal watercraft (50 percent), participating in water sports (37 percent) or on a boat (16 percent). One in five parents (19 percent) mistakenly believes that air-filled water wings can protect their child from drowning. It is estimated that 85 percent of boat-related drownings could be prevented if all passengers were wearing properly fitting life vests. Education Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of drowning victims studied did not know how to swim. Seventy-three percent of victims ages five to nine and 30 percent of victims ages 10 to 14 were non-swimmers. Although the majority of parents agree that all children should have swimming instruction by the age of 8, 37 percent of parents report that their child has never taken lessons. SAFE KIDS recommends that children should be enrolled in swimming lessons with a certified instructor by the age of eight. Splash Into Safety Throughout SAFE KIDS Week hundreds of SAFE KIDS coalitions and chapters will conduct safety fairs and community events all across the nation to teach families how to prevent recreational water injuries and save lives. As part of this initiative, the Johnson Johnson family of companies has created an informative Water Safety Checklist (in English and Spanish) to help parents determine their own level of knowledge of water injury prevention for their children. The test is being distributed at community events and through retail stores along with safety information and a free-standing insert of coupons to 45 million households across the nation. Johnson Johnson also is supporting SAFE KIDS Week with a national advertising campaign and a donation of 2,000 personal flotation devices to SAFE KIDS coalitions across the country. Johnson Johnson has developed a marketing partnership with Turner Broadcasting to distribute public education advertorials supporting SAFE KIDS Week 2004. For more information or for a free copy of the SAFE KIDS/Johnson Johnson Clear Danger: A National Study of Childhood Drowning and Related Attitudes and Behaviors, contact the National SAFE KIDS Campaign at (202) 662-0600 or visit www.safekids.org . The National SAFE KIDS Campaign is the first and only national nonprofit organization dedicated solely to the prevention of unintentional childhood injury the number one killer of children ages 14 and under. More than 300 state and local SAFE KIDS coalitions in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico comprise the Campaign. Johnson Johnson, with approximately 110,600 employees, is the world's most comprehensive and broadly-based manufacturer of health care products, as well as a provider of related services, for the consumer, pharmaceutical and medical devices and diagnostics markets. Johnson Johnson has more than 200 operating companies in 57 countries around the world, selling products in more than 175 countries. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com More >>

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