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ON THE SILVER SCREEN: AFTER COMMAND SCHOOL SPECIAL (ENDER'S GAME)

 

By Brian Lafferty

November 1, 2013 (San Diego) – Ender’s Game views warfare, military training, and combat from a unique perspective: a child’s.  The air is filled with an aura of childhood innocence.  The very real threat of humanity’s annihilation is hard for these young recruits to completely comprehend because they haven’t experienced life and the world as much as grown-ups have.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS

 

October 31, 2013 (San Diego) – Halloween is upon us and safety should be the number one priority for trick-or-treaters, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  Here are some tips for choosing the right costumes:

Costumes purchased should be made of flame retardant material (check the label).  Hemlines should be short enough to prevent tripping. Glow-in-the-dark reflective tape is great for night time costumes.

EARTHTALK®: ENVIRONMENTAL INTERNSHIPS

 

October 24, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: I understand that there are many internships available at environmental organizations, some involving working outdoors, some year-round with expenses paid. Where do I find these?

-- Jason Baar, Los Angeles, CA

Internships can provide professional experience and on-the-job training for individuals looking to enter the environmental field. There are numerous opportunities and the key is to know where to look. Many businesses, non-profits and governmental organizations offer internships that are environmentally focused and can range from office work in many different departments to working outdoors, some year-round and some short term. Compensation also varies significantly and can range from unpaid (but earning college credit) to salaried and/or all-expenses-paid.

THE CAREGIVER'S JOURNEY: DON'T WAIT UNTIL A CRISIS

 

By Marsha Kay Seff

October 24, 2013 (San Diego) – In your job as a caregiver, you probably won’t be able to avoid a crisis.  But being prepared for one will help make things easier for you and your parents.

The biggest mistake you can make is being complacent until the inevitable happens.  By then, you will have to move too quickly with limited options and a big chance of making mistakes.

Don’t waste time in denial.  It’s a given that your parents will get older and frailer.  By the time they fall, are hospitalized, or end up with full-blown dementia, it’s too late to set up a plan.

POLITICAL REFLECTIONS COLUMN: GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN-- TRIUMPH OF THE RAND

by Mark Gabrish Conlan  for East County Magazine, www.eastcountymagazine.org

I will not live my life for any other man, nor ask any other man to live his life for mine. — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

October 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- As I’m writing this, it’s the eighth day of the shutdown of the federal government, and there’s no end in sight. What’s more, unless Congress acts to expand the so-called “debt ceiling” — the total amount of money the federal government can borrow to fund its current obligations ­— by October 17, the U.S. could default on its loans for the first time in its history.

Economists and businesspeople are warning that this could be catastrophic for the future not only of the U.S. but the entire world’s economy. As Douglas Cote, chief market strategist for IMG Investment Management U.S. in New York — not exactly your most flaming liberal or Leftist source — was quoted in the October 3 Los Angeles Times, the politicians who have brought about the government shutdown and are threatening to force the U.S.’s first-ever default are playing “a form of Russian roulette with a loaded gun.”

"THE ROOM" CELEBRATES TEN YEARS AT THE KEN CINEMA AT MIDNIGHT OCT. 11 AND 12

 

 

October 10, 2013 (Kensington) – The Ken Cinema in Kensington, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, is one of only two regularly operating single-screen theaters in San Diego (the other being the new Digital Gym Cinema in North Park, which opened up in April this year).  The Ken is known for two things, the first being San Diego’s home to unique, niche films (as I’ve written about before). 

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: RED FLAG WARNING...PREPARE NOW!

 

October 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Homeowners in hillside communities, you can help your firefighters by creating defensible space around your home as we experience our first Santa Ana Wind event of the season. There are currently Red Flag Warnings in effect and more to come as we head into dry, warm and windy weather over the next few days.

MARKETING MATTERS: A SLOW FOURTH QUARTER IS A GREAT WAY TO KICK OFF THE FIRST QUARTER

 

Tips and tricks for business success and growth

By Rama Beerfas

October 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For many businesses outside the retail sector, the fourth quarter is the slowest one of the year. Budgets have been spent, people are on vacation or in a holiday frame of mind, and new projects are being put off until after the first of the year. It can seem like a great time to just kick back a bit, or a time to worry about how to make ends meet until things pick back up.

Ideally, though, the fourth quarter should be the time when you evaluate the past year and plan out your business and marketing plans for the coming year. Even if the fourth quarter is a busy time for you, it's important to do this now so that you can get a jumpstart on the new year.

RENO DISPATCH: SANDERS BILL WOULD PROTECT VETERANS BENEFITS IN A GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

 

By Jamie Reno

October 2, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – Just hours before the likely shutdown of the government, legislation that many anxious American veterans have been hoping for has arrived - and Congress had better pass it. Tonight, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) introduced legislation to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to make disability compensation and pension payments to veterans in the event of an extended government shutdown.

“We must not let our veterans be counted among the House Republicans’ hostages,” Sanders said this evening.

RENO DISPATCH: CONFUSION AND OUTRAGE: WHAT THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN REALLY MEANS FOR VETERANS

 

September 30, 2013 (San Diego) – With the government on the brink of shutting down for who knows how long, America's veterans are trying to make sense of the conflicting and confusing information spewing from inside the Beltway. And the national media isn't helping much.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been sending out painfully mixed messages. Last week, the department announced that under its contingency plan, 95 percent of VA employees would be either fully funded or required to perform excepted functions during a government shutdown.

MEDIA WATCHDOG: THE ACCELERATING ASSAULT ON JOURNALISM

 

Some media figures applaud the criminalization of investigative reporting.

A media advisory from Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)

http://fair.org/take-action/media-advisories/the-accelerating-assault-on...

September 27, 2013 (San Diego) – U.S. soldier Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning's 35-year sentence represents the harshest punishment issued to date for providing media with evidence of government wrongdoing (Forbes, 8/21/13). She is the first whistleblower to be convicted under the Espionage Act, ratifying the new reality that those who give the press information that the government wants to keep secret will henceforth be treated as spies.

MEDIA WATCH: WHY I QUIT THE ROADRUNNER: MY INTRODUCTION TO THE GLOBAL ECONOMY

 

By David Ross

(originally published September 6, 2013 at the Valley Center Press).

While being clueless isn’t a prerequisite for earning an MBA, it’s a good start.

I had my introduction to the global economy during the first week in December of 2012 when a new owner purchased The Roadrunner after it had been owned and operated by Dale & Shirley Good for nearly 20 years. Before that it had been owned by a consortium of five owners after being founded in 1974 by Van Quackenbush, who brought me on board in 1984. I edited the publication for about 27 years.

THE CAREGIVER'S JOURNEY: NEW FRIENDS IN NEED

 

By Marsha Kay Seff

September 19, 2013 (San Diego) -- My mom used to complain how difficult it was to make friends at her retirement home.  Then one day, she stepped into the elevator and said hello to someone she had unsuccessfully been trying to befriend.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” Mom told her.  “It looks like you’ve put on some weight.”

The woman glared at her and left the elevator without even saying good-bye.

“See what I mean?” Mom said to me.

I suggested, between giggles, that next time, she tell the woman how great she looked.

EARTHTALK®: A FIERCE GREEN FIRE

 

September 19, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: What is the new documentary film A Fierce Green Fire about and what does the title refer to?                                                                           

-- Gloria Howard, Washington, DC

A Fierce Green Fire is a new film documenting the rise of the modern environmental movement from the 1960s through the present day. It premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival and will be playing at select theaters across the country beginning in September 2013. Educators, environmental groups and grassroots activists also will be showing the film at small and large events from coast to coast over the course of the fall. Written and directed by Mark Kitchell, Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties, A Fierce Green Fire (the film) is based on the 1993 book of the same name by environmental journalist Philip Shabecoff.

EARTHTALK®: GREEN HOME RENOVATION

 

September 12, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: I’m planning a major home renovation and want to include as many green-friendly features as possible. Where do I begin to look?             

-- Matthew Glaser, Queens, NY

There has never been a better time to renovate green, given the abundance of Earth-friendly building material choices as well as contractors well-versed in energy- and resource-efficiency. Many homeowners don’t realize that they can save money in the long run, despite the up front costs, by choosing materials and strategies that will lower utility bills and reduce maintenance and replacement costs moving forward.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: SCHOOL IS BACK AND SO ARE SPORTS INJURIES!

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

September 12, 2013 (San Diego) – School is now back in session and along with it comes sports! With over 30 million youths participating in sports, injuries are very likely to occur. Most sports related injuries can be prevented with some basic preventive measures says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

Keeping in shape “prior” to the season is a good start.  It’s still hot, so take it easy on hot or humid days and keep hydrated. Warm up prior to engaging is also important. Many schools require a physical exam before starting a school sport. Check with your child’s school. You may even want to have your child get a physical from your family physician.

EARTHTALK®: HUMAN OVERPOPULATION - STILL AN ISSUE OF CONCERN?

 

September 5, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that human overpopulation isn’t such a big issue any more as numbers are expected to start declining in a few decades?

-- Melinda Mason, Boone, IA

Ever since Thomas Malthus published “An Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1798, positing incorrectly that humans’ proclivity for procreation would exhaust the global food supply within a matter of decades, population growth has been a hot button issue among those contemplating humankind’s future. Indeed our very success going forth and multiplying, paired with our ability to extend our life expectancy, has meant that we are perpetually pushing the limits of the resource base that supports us.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: ARE YOU PREPARED? SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH!

 

By Sam DiGiovanna

September 5, 2013 (San Diego) – Are You Prepared? Jeeepers, What Next?

It seems there are so many things we need to be prepared for, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. How do you keep up and prepare with all these life and worldly events?

September is the 10th Annual National Preparedness Month, which means that public safety agencies are busy working on a number of events to ensure that their communities are educated, informed, and ready to face any type of crisis situation. “This year’s national theme is ‘Be Your Own Hero,’” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.

FROM THE CHIEF'S CORNER: LABOR DAY SAFETY TIPS

 

By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

August 29, 2013 (San Diego) – Next weekend is the start of Labor Day Weekend.  In order to ensure your Labor Day is a good one, there are some simple safety precautions to consider, says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna.  Anyone want to barbecue or picnic?  Keep a close eye on the grill to ensure safety at all times.  Keep children away.  Keep the grill away from combustibles and vegetation.

EARTHTALK®: FOOD WASTE TO ENERGY

 

August 26, 2013 (San Diego) – Dear EarthTalk: Might another possible source for ethanol be discarded pastries from bakeries? For that matter, wouldn’t fermenting unsold bananas, oranges and apples from grocery store produce departments be able to provide an ample supply of fuel?

-- Curious in Warren, PA

Food waste is indeed an untapped resource with great potential for generating energy. Some one third of all food produced around the world gets discarded uneaten, and environmentalists, energy analysts and entrepreneurs are beginning to take notice. Diverting even just a portion of this waste to so-called waste-to-energy (WTE) systems could free up large amounts of landfill space while powering our vehicles and heating our homes, and thus putting a significant dent in our collective carbon footprint. Perhaps that’s why WTE is one of the fastest growing segments of the world’s quickly diversifying energy sector.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: DRUNKS VS. ROBOTS (THE WORLD'S END)

 

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 23, 2013 (San Diego) – Up until The World’s End, Edgar Wright had only three feature films to his directorial credit:  Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007), and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010).  However small his output, those films – Shaun of the Dead in particular – have spawned a huge cult following like few I’ve encountered in recent years.  To those outside this circle, he’s an acquired taste.  Shaun of the Dead, for example, was a dry take on the zombie apocalypse in fine British fashion.  It’s laugh out loud funny if you get the sophisticated humor.

RENO DISPATCH: BOB FILNER THANKFULLY RESIGNS, BUT TROUBLING QUESTIONS LINGER

 

 

By Jamie Reno

August 20, 2013 (San Diego) – I'm sure by now you've read the news that embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is probably resigning. Yes, the greasy pol is apparently out - though some of the details of his pending resignation "deal" are still uncertain. It had to happen. At least 18 very credible women have come forward with specific accounts of Filner's creepy behavior. That he is apparently leaving represents a potentially healing moment for this city, which has taken a major PR hit in recent weeks.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: SERVE AND REFLECT (LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Like Forrest Gump, Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker) views American history from a distance, a bystander swept up in a relentless flurry of major historical events that came to dominate and define the latter 20th century.  Like Forrest Gump, Danny Strong's screenplay - based on the Washington Post article by Wil Haywood - mystifies the civil rights movement, the Kennedy assassination, and the Vietnam War.  As major political figures appear, and landmark events transpire or are referenced, the joy of discovery and realization kicks in at full stop.  And like Forrest Gump, it's full of "easter eggs" masterfully hidden that become uncovered with repeat viewings. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: TECHNOBABBLE (JOBS)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 16, 2013 (San Diego) – After Steve Jobs passed away in October 2011, Steve Breen - whose political cartoons are always as funny as they are spot-on - paid a more respectful and touching tribute to him.  It showed him, presumably having arrived in Heaven, being welcomed by Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: THE LEAGUE OF ORDINARY SUPERMEN (KICK-ASS 2)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 16, 2013 (San Diego) – Scattered throughout Kick-Ass 2 are the same high-caliber flashes of genius of its predecessor.  Only thing is Kick-Ass had a rich, fully developed screenplay by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn from which to hang them.  Jeff Wadlow's screenplay is otherwise a messy concoction of underdeveloped subplots and gratuitous nasty violence. 

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT (THE SPECTACULAR NOW)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Sutter (Miles Teller) is like that friend who has certain annoying tendencies, but you nonetheless love hanging out with.  He's a boisterous young man with an extreme fondness for beer...even though he hasn't yet graduated high school.  He knows how to have a good time, too.  A really good time.  One night he'll be at a party, and then the next morning he'll find himself passed out on a random neighbor's lawn.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: PLANET OF THE 99% (ELYSIUM)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 9, 2013 (San Diego) – Last August, I declared on Facebook that you will never see me post about politics and religion on social media.  That’s an easy rule for me to follow on Facebook and Twitter.  Not so much when reviewing movies (Gerrymandering, Client 9).  Writer and director Neill Blomkamp packs so many socio-political issues into his latest film, Elysium, that it demands discussion.  

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE A LONG, LONG TIME (EUROPA REPORT)

 

By Brian Lafferty

August 8, 2013 (San Diego) – Every time I think about Europa Report, I can’t help but think of Elton John’s hit song, Rocket Man.  It tells about an astronaut who leaves his family for a lengthy and lonely trip to Mars.  The lyrics beautifully describe the feelings of isolation ("It's lonely out in space"), longing ("I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife"), and career crossroads ("All this science, I don't understand, it's just my job five days a week.") 

RENO DISPATCH: NO MURDER CHARGES FILED IN THE CASE OF MISSING AMERICAN AUBREY SACCO

 

August 8, 2013 (San Diego) – An update today from Nepal on a story I've been following for two years: Contrary to what a number of media reports suggested last week, lack of enough evidence has prevented police from filing murder charges against the three people identified as suspects in the alleged murder of American woman Aubrey Sacco, who went missing in 2010.

Nepal's Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) arrested the three suspects Friday in connection with the possible murder of Aubrey, an athlete, scholar and musician who as I reported for ESPN had gone missing from the Langtang area of the Rasuwa district of Nepal more than three years ago.

RENO DISPATCH: IS AMERICAN JOURNALISM CORRUPTED BY BIG PHARMA DOLLARS?

 

August 8, 2013 (San Diego) – There have been many breakthroughs recently in the study of adult (non-embryonic) stem cells. But the national media has all but ignored them. Most news outlets still seem to prefer perpetuating the tired notion that all adult stem cell researchers are cons and all patients who enroll in adult stem cell clinical trials are fools. That's no longer the case.

Yes, there are still unethical players in this sector who take advantage of ailing, desperate patients willing to try anything. And yes, this is a relatively new field about which there is still much to learn. But a number of reputable companies that specialize in this research, including Medistem and Cytori Therapeutics, already have FDA-approved trials under way or in the pipeline for a variety of health conditions.

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