The World Continues to Reveal Its Secrets

 

The World Continues to Reveal Its Secrets

by Amy Lignor

 

We all know the names of those “magical” locations recorded throughout history. Perhaps, after all this time, the name “Atlantis” still reigns at the top of the list when it comes to being the most magical of them all. This was one locale people have claimed has actually been found; over the years, Atlantis has supposedly been discovered everywhere from the Bahamas to the Greek Islands to Cuba. For most, this legendary island still remains undiscovered. Determined people in their field, however, continue to search for proof that this great naval power the ancient Greek historian Plato described in 360 B.C., was real and did sink into the sea over 10,000 years ago. Whether reality or a tale of fiction, the “Lost City” continues to entice. Even when a story comes up on the History Channel about Atlantis, a record number of viewers tune in to see it “digitally” brought back to life.

 

These myths and legends still capture the mind in 2016, but it is also highly important to state that very real discoveries have been made this year. Archaeologists have unearthed some truly amazing historical pieces that have provided real facts history has been missing up until now.

 

Atlantis, The Lost City, new archaelogical discoveries, HMS Warrior, archaeological sites, Lambityeco,  Petra, Jerusalem

HMS Warrior

This year, the wreck of the British warship HMS Warrior was discovered near Norway. Referred to as the “last shipwreck” stemming from the Battle of Jutland during World War I, a marine exploration team found the ship almost completely intact. The last of the Jutland wrecks to be located, the Warrior can now be counted with 14 other British warships (as well as 11 German warships) that were sunk in 1916, when the Imperial German High Seas Fleet tried to break out from the Royal Navy blockade of the North Sea.

 

Another 2016 discovery was made in a place much like the Lost City of Atlantis. Although the amazing ancient desert city of Petra, in Jordan, is certainly a fact, new data and discoveries are being made there constantly. This time, two incredible marble statues representing Aphrodite/Venus (the Greco-Roman goddess of love) were found nearly intact after all this time. Dating to the second century A.D., these statues were so well-preserved that even traces of paint applied to them at their creation still remain on the statues. Carved in a Roman style, these statues offer even more data on how Rome influenced the local culture of Petra when they “moved in.”

 

Atlantis, The Lost City, new archaelogical discoveries, HMS Warrior, archaeological sites, Lambityeco,  Petra, JerusalemIn Jerusalem, one of the most exceptional archaeological sites in the world, a gold coin with the Roman Emperor Nero’s face decorating it has been unearthed. Dating back to A.D. 60, before the Romans destroyed Jerusalem, the coin was discovered while archaeologists excavated the still mysterious Mount Zion. They came to an agreement that this coin we know in 2016 is “beyond priceless,” probably came from a Jewish home; a home, back then, that would not have seen it as nearly the treasure it has become.

 

And to add in a little mystery, a stone crocodile carving that dates back many centuries was recently uncovered in Mexico. Said to be used during Mesoamerican rituals, this find fills in some of the blanks in regards to ancient ceremonial practices that were once considered to be the “norm.”

 

Digging near a temple in the ruins of a city named, Lambityeco, it is no surprise that this was found. Archaeologists first uncovered two palaces at this same location back in the 1960s. Incredible frescoes hinted at this site and a “powerful neighboring city” that this smaller city started distancing itself from. Evidence of transportation routes being altered had already proven that Lambityeco was cutting ties with the nearby city; important structures had been moved, changed, and/or rebuilt. But the reasons behind the transformation are still lost in the dirt. Finding this crocodile just adds that extra little “something” to make archaeologists strive to find out even more about Lambityeco’s lifespan.

 

History does not ever fail to entertain, delight, or enchant a human being. In fact, with new discoveries being unearthed constantly, it will be even more exciting to see what the next few years bring to light.

 

Hmm…maybe someone will finally bring the Lost City of Atlantis to the surface after all.

 

Source:  Baret News

Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane

 

Controlling a Species: Humans Being Humane

by Amy Lignor

 

Humane. There is a reason why this word and human are basically spelled the same. What needs to happen, however, is for them to mean the same. There are societies out there that talk about just that. From clubs to groups to volunteer organizations that protect all varieties of our animal friends, “humane” is one act that they wish would be considered in any and all situations.

 

controversal, population reduction, Wildlife contraception, PZP immunocontraception, Science and Conservation CenterOne species that can overrun various areas of this country very quickly are deer. Deer hunting is certainly legal and allowed, but when it comes to “killing programs” that have been created expressly for the purpose of reducing deer populations by utilizing only weapons, controversy abounds. This controversy doesn’t just come up when talking about how difficult and unsafe it is to “kill” deer in urban and suburban areas; the fact is, killing deer does not actually result in any long-term population reduction whatsoever. Hence, why wildlife fertility control was thought up by a stellar human mind, and has become a way to easily and safely stop the killing.

 

In Billings, Montana, the Science and Conservation Center can be found. This Center’s mission is to control deer and various wildlife populations that have grown, or could grow, out of control by means of fertility vaccines. The Center is the world’s only dedicated facility for the development of wildlife contraceptives and methods for its application. They not only distribute the vaccine where needed, but the Center is also the repository for all records and data required by the Food and Drug Administration.

 

Wildlife contraception is not new, yet to many it remains a mystery. Questions come up every day about different species and settings and how the fertility drug would or could even work.

There is, to this day, a great deal of misunderstanding about this subject – arguments made that by following this path instead of killing a species outright will negatively affect the economy. Again, a belief that is simply untrue.

 

Called PZP, this vaccine can be used to control fertility in adult female deer and other mammals. Unlike other fertility control vaccines that have been created and tried out, causing unacceptable and undesirable behavior changes in a species, PZP goes no farther than preventing fertilization from occurring. Being a natural protein, it is completely safe to the animal and can be delivered by hand or – so as not to disturb the species – remotely inserted using a dart gun.

 

With just one treatment, the PZP vaccine can now prevent deer from having fawns for up to three years, reducing the time needed to dart the animals and the cost needed for treating the deer.

 

Since the 1990s, several successful PZP immunocontraception research projects on deer have been done. Primary goals of these projects were to judge how effective PZP was in deer and whether or not more than 200 of them could be darted each year. Both goals were achieved quite easily. But the most important piece of data discovered was that just PZP alone could stabilize and reduce a deer population over time. Thus, taking away the need for killing.

 

During the time certain organizations have utilized PZP, the number of deer collisions/car accidents have dramatically decreased. The deer have become healthier and growth rates remain low, even with the fact that urbanization has resulted in more deer migration. Over a five-year period, the deer population decreased by nearly 60 percent when it came to the Fripp Island project. And with fewer deer, fewer tragedies have occurred.

 

In the end, people must educate themselves on the PZP vaccine before adding to the arguments. If they do, they will see that this has most definitely become a proven way to save human lives without having to wipe any other species off the map.

Source:  Baret News

For movies opening September 30, 2016

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening September 30, 2016

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEK,   Kam's Kapsules,  Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun,  by Kam Williams

BIG BUDGET FILMS

 

Deepwater Horizon (PG-13 for intense action sequences, disturbing images and brief profanity) Disaster flick recreating the real-life events surrounding the 2010 explosion of the offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico which claimed the lives of 11 crewmen and led to the worst crude oil spill in U.S. history. Co-starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich.

 

Masterminds (PG-13 for sexuality, profanity, violence and crude humor) Crime caper, inspired by actual events, revolving around an armored car driver (Zach Galifianakis) duped by a flirtatious co-worker (Kristen Wiig) into participating in one of the biggest bank heists in American history. With Jason Sudeikis, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones and Owen Wilson.

 

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (PG-13 for instense violence, peril and action sequences) Tim Burton directed this adapatation of Ransom Riggs’ best-selling children’s novel about a 16 year-old orphan (Asa Butterfield) who uncovers a terrifying reality when he travels to a Welsh orphanage located on a mysterious island. Cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, Chris O’Dowd, Dame Judi Dench, Allison Janney and Terence Stamp.

 

 

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

 

American Honey (R for graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, pervasive profanity and teen drug and alcohol abuse) Raunchy road saga revolving around a troubled runaway (Sasha Lane) who joins a team of door-to-door salesmen who party when not hawking magazine subscriptions while driving across the American Midwest. With Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough and Arielle Holmes.

 

Among the Believers (Unrated) War on Terror expose’ chronicling the efforts of Pakistan’s infamous Red Mosque schools to raise a generation of Western-hating radical jihadists. (In English and Urdu with subtitles)

 

Clinton, Inc. (PG-13 for sexuality and mature themes) Adaptation of Daniel Halper’s best seller of the same name offering a behind-the-scenes account of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s maneuverings returning them to prominence after leaving the White House. Featuring commentary by Dick Morris, Rich Lowry and Ron Kessler.

 

Denial (PG-13 for mature themes and brief profanity) Courtroom drama recounting Deborah Lipstadt’s (Rachel Weisz) epic legal battle with notorious Holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall) over whether or not Hitler and his minions really murdered millions in the gas chambers during World War II. With Tom Wilkinson, Andrew Scott and Jack Lowden.

 

Do Not Resist (Unrated) Domestic tranquility documentary examining the proliferation of militarized policing across the United States.

 

Girl Asleep (Unrated) Coming-of-age dramedy about an ostracized social zero (Bethany Whitmore) whose fortunes change dramatically after being thrown a 15th birthday party by her concerned parents (Amber McMahon and Matthew Whittet). With Harrison Feldman, Imogen Archer and Eamon Farren.

 

Milton’s Secret (PG for mature themes, adolescent issues and brief epithets) Family drama revolving around an 11 year-old (William Ainscough) who becomes the victim of a neighborhood bully (Percy Hynes White). Cast includes Michelle Rodriguez, Donald Sutherland, David Sutcliffe and Mia Kirshner.

 

Passage to Mars (Unrated) True tale reenacting the real-life, 2,000-mile trek undertaken across the Arctic’s frozen tundra by a half-dozen wannabe astronauts in anticipation of NASA’s first manned flight to Mars. Co-starring Zachary Quinto, Charlotte Rampling and Buzz Aldrin.

Source:  Baret News

Top Ten DVD List for September 27, 2016

 

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for September 27, 2016
This Week’s DVD Releases, Kam Williams, Top Ten DVD List, 09/27/16 

                     

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IGFGG2G/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Blood Diner

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IN8E04M/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

The Shallows

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HH7KC60/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Rod Serling’s Patterns

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B013T7MH2Y/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Jim Henson’s Labyrinth: 30th Anniversary Edition

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01EFSSLNK/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

A Dangerous Game: Donald Trump vs. the Environment

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HFRBJ5U/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

The Disappearance

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HHGAKD6/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Howard Lovecraft and the Frozen Kingdom

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01GWAW51I/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Talent Has Hunger
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HOVRB36/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Jericho: Series One

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01GIURMSI/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Honorable Mention

The Catch: The Complete First Season

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01E7XW4GS/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IN87CLA/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Beyond Valkyrie: Dawn of the Fourth Reich

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IN85E24/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Central Intelligence
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01H4FJQ2G/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

The Neon Demon

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01G71YMAO/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Chopping Mall
https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IN8A9J2/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Barbarians Rising [4-Part Miniseries]

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IN8DOFS/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Edge of Winter

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01JZKXBEC/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Warcraft

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01GUVOXIW/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Indian Summers: Season Two

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HEA3FSW/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Heart of the World: Colorado’s National Parks

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01IPM7AZW/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Spectacular Disaster Flick Depicts Real-Life Events Surrounding BP Oil Spill

 

Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, April 20, 2010, worst oil spill in U.S. history, Gulf of Mexico, perspective of the rig's Chief Electronics TechnicianDeepwater Horizon

Film Review by Kam Williams

Spectacular Disaster Flick Depicts Real-Life Events Surrounding BP Oil Spill

On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, located 41 miles off the coast of Louisiana, exploded when high-pressure methane gas blew out the drill pipe. 11 members of the crew perished in the ensuing fiery inferno which engulfed the platform.

The accident also caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, with over 200 million gallons of crude leaking into the Gulf of Mexico by the time the well was finally capped 86 days later.   At that point, authorities turned their attention to the question of who was to blame for the mammoth ecological disaster.

There was no shortage of potential villains to sort through, given that the drilling unit had been built in South Korea, was owned by Transocean Limited, a Swiss company, operated under the flag of the Marshall Islands, was leased to British Petroleum (BP) but maintained by Halliburton, an American field service corporation, and serviced by Schlumberger, a Dutch company. Ultimately, the bulk of the blame would be attributed to BP, which would be found guilty of gross negligence and pay billions of dollars in damages to thousands of aggrieved parties.

Directed by Peter Berg (Battleship), Deepwater Horizon revisits the infamous incident primarily from the perspective of the rig’s Chief Electronics Technician, Mike Williams. The picture reunites Berg with Mark Wahlberg with whom he previously collaborated on Lone Survivor.

Wahlberg plays Williams, a working-class hero of unquestioned integrity. As the film unfolds, we find him bidding adieu to his family before departing for a 21-day tour on the Horizon. If only Mike had heeded warning signs like his wife’s (Kate Hudson) premonitions and his daughter Sydney’s (Stella Allen) science project with a Coke can geyser gone kabluey, he might have had the good sense to call in sick.

Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, April 20, 2010, worst oil spill in U.S. history, Gulf of Mexico, perspective of the rig's Chief Electronics Technician

The same could be said of his colleague Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez), a mechanic who couldn’t get her car started that same morning. Even the helicopter ferrying them to work experienced an ominous bird strike en route to the platform. And upon landing, they’re greeted by a pal with a macabre skull-and-crossbones emblazoned on his hard hat.

Of far more significance are Don Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Bob Kaluza (Brad Leland), the bigwig BP bureaucrats who begin bullying their employees from the minute the chopper lands on the deck. This clueless pair of villains prove willing to put profits before any safety concerns, so it’s no surprise when the platform’s unstable drill pipe pops its cork.

The spectacular, pyrotechnic calamity which follows affords Mike an opportunity not only to play hero in a sea of fire but to later shame the cowardly culprits responsible in court. A harrowing tale of survival topped off by justice duly being served. What more could you ask for from an action-oriented morality play? 

   

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for intense action sequences, disturbing images and brief profanity

Running time: 107 minutes

Distributor: Lionsgate Films

Source:  Baret News

Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights

 

Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE XS Series Bow Sights

By Brad Fenson

As an avid bowhunter, I’m always looking for a sight to not only help me acquire a target accurately and quickly but provide adjustability while being lightweight. It might be a lot to ask for but with a wide array of hunting situations, you have to be selective in your equipment to ensure you are always successful in the long run.

The Apex Gear ACCU•STRIKE™ XS was obviously designed for an active hunter. I like the five-pin sight, allowing me to hunt open country, applying my skills to spot-and-stalk adventures, and fine-tuning my shooting to greater distances. To say it is packed with features is an understatement.

apex-accustrike-xs-sight-brand-fenson-1u7a6809-2

The ACCU•STRIKE™ XS Series features an adjustable level and reversible bracket, allowing a greater range of adjustment. Adjustments are basic without extra gizmos, to provide a more durable, trouble-free system. A hex key adjusts everything from individual pins to horizontal and vertical movement. Modifications are made by loosening the hex-head screw and sliding the housing. The bracket can be reversed to allow the housing to be mounted higher in the sight window.

I often find myself hunting in steep, or uneven, terrain, and appreciate the built-in level allowing for third axis adjustments. Third axis adjustment corrects for shooting up or downhill. Another cool feature within the level is a strip of luminescent tape, which keeps the entire bubble and liquid illuminated in low light conditions.

The APEX OPTI•CHOICE™ II Pin Selector System lets you illuminate one of the five pins and change the brightness level (low, medium or high) to optimize visibility under any shooting conditions. A wheel is turned to select the pin and a push button on the side of the wheel is used to increase brightness. There is no mistaking your pin selection once you range an animal, select the pin and illuminate it to make it stand out, for easy acquisition of the targets. The light is mounted to maximize brightness within the fibers. If an animal is coming towards you and you aren’t sure what the range is going to be when you get a shot, you can illuminate all of the pins, so you just need to judge distance correctly and pick the appropriate pin.

Even without the battery, the sight pins are extremely bright. Extra-long fiber optics are used to gather and focus more light in each pin. Extra-long green, red and yellow fibers are used to help quickly distinguish pins for different ranges.

A white ring on the inside of the housing will help peep-to-sight alignment for increased accuracy. It is designed to collect light and glow in the dark, providing a greater use for different conditions and situations.

On my hunting bow, I always try to keep my accessories as lightweight as possible. The ACCU•STRIKE™ XS is not only compact but weighs in at just 5.5 ounces.

The sight is ambidextrous being adjustable for left-and-right–handed users.

The last thing a hunter will notice on the entire sight is the TRU•TOUCH™ soft–feel technical coating. If you happen to brush against something the coating will ensure no metallic sound is produced, and it minimizes any detectable noise.

This mid-range sight has superior illumination and more features than most hunters will be used to. It should bring out the best in anyone looking to bring their “A” game to the field.

With MSRP from $86.00 (black model without OPTI•CHOICE II system) to $99.00 (Camo models and black model with OPTI•CHOICE II), this site is a full-meal-deal.

Visit APEX Gear Today!

 

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com 

There Are Superheroes Among Us

 

There Are Superheroes Among Us

by Amy Lignor

 

This story truly proves that a superhero does not require a cape, tights, or the ability to fly. In a world where all headlines seem to be centered around who shot who, who is being put upon, who’s “getting Jonny & Alistair Brownlee, ultimate superhero, what really counts, Spanish Triathlon Federation, World Triathlon Series, Brownlee Brothersaway with it” – all the way to who is getting divorced and who may or may not be kneeling at NFL games – negative stories seem to be the only ones covered anymore by the media. Does the American populace need to know the news? Absolutely. But when it came to a recent sports event, people were also allowed to witness (finally) a story that was all about love, kindness, and friendship. Positive with a capital ‘P’. And with all the negative of late, this insertion of positive surprised the heck out of people.

 

Two boys – brothers, named Jonny and Alistair Brownlee – competed in the World Triathlon Series finale in Cozumel. Now everyone knows that triathlons are not for the faint-hearted. You have to work your tail off to compete, and sometimes get to the point where many watching the event truly believe you will not be able to make it through the entire thing.

 

Now Jonny Brownlee, one of the brothers, was most definitely going to win and claim that world title all for himself. A stellar athlete, he began the final kilometer of the 10 kilometer race. The Mexican heat, however, and the extreme battle of a triathlon got to him. He began to weave a bit on the course, and many onlookers tried not to gasp as they watched this man who looked like he was going to pass out under the relentless sun.

 

It got worse as another athlete passed him by. But then Alistair Brownlee, who was running in third, saw his brother’s anguish and stopped. He literally gave up his chance at coming in second and/or speeding up and taking over first place to win it all. Instead, Alistair decided to be a brother – looking far more like a superhero – put his arm around Jonny and almost carried him to the finish line. But his superhero status did not stop there.

 

Just as they were about to cross, he pushed Jonny over the line ahead of him so his brother could claim second place. The Olympic silver medalist, Jonny, was so full of gratitude for what his brother had done for him. After regaining his strength, he stated: “I know Alistair is a competitor and he would have wanted to win that race, but he threw that away to help me out. Obviously it takes a very strong and good person to do that.”

 

Alistair remarked that although it was certainly a natural reaction to help his brother, he would have saved anyone in that position because it’s an awful position to be in. Being that it was his brother, they can now tease each other a bit as they come to realize that they did not have to win the race to become the center of attention.

 

We were all raised on “winning being the most important thing” when it comes to competition. You work, you sweat, and you strive to be the best of the best. But the Brownlee brothers showed the world that winning is definitely not the most important thing when someone else needs help. Being that ultimate superhero – people who still populate this earth yet may not be seen in the headlines for all the good work they’re doing – is what really counts.

 

 

As always someone had to be negative, but an appeal made by the Spanish Triathlon Federation to actually disqualify Jonny Brownlee for accepting assistance to get over the line was, thankfully, dismissed by the International Triathlon Union. The ITU cited a rule which states athletes may accept help.

 

The winner and newly-crowned champion admitted that the drama did take some “shine” off his victory, but also went on to state that even though the end was not how he wanted it to be, “that’s triathlon.”

 

Well, I think we can all agree that whether this had been football, baseball, basketball…heck, take your pick, this is one ending that brought people to their feet as they found themselves realizing…superheroes indeed walk among us.

Jonny & Alistair Brownlee, ultimate superhero, what really counts, Spanish Triathlon Federation, World Triathlon Series, Brownlee Brothers

Alistair Brownlee
London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games Victory Parade Photo: Jim Thurston

Richards Rocks!

 

Sandra L. Richards  The “Rice & Rocks” Interview  with Kam WilliamsSandra L. Richards

The “Rice & Rocks” Interview

with Kam Williams

Richards Rocks!

The American-born daughter of Jamaican immigrant parents, Sandra L. Richards is the author of “Rice & Rocks.” She hopes that her debut picture book will serve as an educational resource for families seeking to teach their children the value of their heritage and the importance of cultural diversity.

Sandra completed both her undergraduate and graduate studies at Seton Hall University, and is the Executive Director, Head of Diverse and Multicultural Marketing, Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. Learn more about Sandra at www.sandralrichards.com

Kam Williams: Hi Sandra. Congratulations on “Rice & Rocks.”

Sandra L. Richards: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.

KW: What inspired you to write the book?

SLR: The inspiration for “Rice & Rocks” came from my family in two parts. One, my parents are from Jamaica and immigrated to the USA with the hopes to give their children a chance of growing up with greater opportunities. However, it was important to them that we were raised with a sense of pride of https://www.amazon.com/Rice-Rocks-Sandra-L-Richards/dp/1940014735our culture and traditions, and food was certainly at the center of that, especially Sunday dinners!The second source of inspiration stemmed from a heartbreak. In 2007, I lost my 8-year old nephew Giovanni to meningitis. That loss left a hole in the heart of our entire family. Over the years, I thought long and hard about a way to help keep his memory alive. Of course, we had pictures of the time we spent together, but that just didn’t seem to be enough. As I would replay moments of our time together in my mind, I kept finding myself thinking back to conversations we had over the years, and I fondly remembered one conversation in particular which had to do with food and culture. Giovanni was a very imaginative child and decided he wouldn’t eat his grandma’s rice and beans because the beans looked like rocks to him. That casual conversation ultimately led to the me writing “Rice & Rocks,” a children’s picture book in my nephew’s memory.

KW: What message do you want kids to take away from the tale?

SLR: While memorializing Giovanni was the original intent of “Rice & Rocks,” it was designed to do much more. “Rice & Rocks” is also a story that teaches kids about cultural diversity and the importance of learning about their own heritages. I think it is important for children to have knowledge about their culture and heritage as it will give them a sense of self, pride and ownership of their own story. How powerful would that be for a child to have that gift, a foundation for them to stand on, being able to identify who they are for themselves and not letting someone define it for them?

KW: Where did you come up with the idea of Jasper, a talking parrot from the Congo?

SLR: Giovanni actually owned a bird. He loved birds! In this story, I created Jasper, a parrot from the Congo, as a way to acknowledge Africa in the story. Jasper is quite a character and kids that read the story love him! I hope that will pique their curiosity to learn more about him and, ultimately, more about Africa.

KW: How did you settle on the dialogue, given that it it’s a mix of child, adult and animal chatter?

SLR: Here is the funny truth. We grew up with animals in our family as pets: dogs, cats, birds and fish. We would all talk to them, and engage them in our conversations. So, for me and perhaps every other pet lover out there, it is normal to talk to your pets. They understand and respond in their own way. It was pretty easy to weave Jasper into the dialogue, because, after all, he is a parrot which is known to have a vocabulary of up to 600 words. My two dogs, Skye and Honey, appear in “Rice & Rocks” too and, while they don’t have a speaking part, they are very expressive in the book!

KW: What’s your target audience? 

SLR: “Rice & Rocks” is geared towards children ages 5-9. But, to be honest, I have had adults tell me they love reading picture books. I am in that category, too! I would say for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and godparents, there is something for you in this story to share with a child in your life, whether it be talking about your family roots and traditions, to opening your child’s mind to exploring new foods, to embracing the saying ‘It takes a village’ when needing help in raising future culturally-aware citizens of the world. For teachers, “Rice & Rocks” would be a great addition to their curriculum, as there is growing interest in talking about diversity and inclusion in the schools.

Sandra L. Richards  The “Rice & Rocks” Interview  with Kam Williams

Illustrator: Megan Kayleigh Sullivan

KW: Tell me a little about the book’s illustrator, Megan Kayleigh Sullivan. 

SLR: In short, Megan is brilliant! She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2012 with a degree in illustration. I enjoyed working with Megan, alongside our wonderful art director. I had a front row seat, watching the story come to life sketch by sketch, page by page. What I loved most about working with Megan was her attention to detail and asking questions about my family early on, outside of the story, that would help capture the essence of not only Giovanni, but also Auntie, Grandma and other family members.

KW: Any plans to write a series of books about Giovanni?

SLR: Yes, there are plans to write more stories about Giovanni and Jasper while also introducing a few more characters along the way.

KW: AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?


SLR:
The last book I read was “Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1476777098/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

And I just started “Homegoing,” by Yaa Gyasi. https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1101947136/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

KW: Ling-Ju Yen asks: What is your earliest childhood memory?

SLR: I can still remember it now like it was yesterday, the first time I went to Jamaica. I was 8-years old. I loved it! It was beautiful! I met my maternal and paternal grandmothers for the first time, and they taught me how to cook. There is a road not too far from my grandmother’s house, Holland Bamboo. It looked so regal, as though you are driving to a majestic palace. As a child, when we got close to the road, I would get excited because I knew it was only a matter of minutes until the fun begins. But I would also be sad when it was time to leave, looking out of back window as Holland Bamboo would appear further and further away. Today, I will gladly admit that those same feelings creep in when I see Holland Bamboo.

KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?

SLR: This immediately plays in my head, when you ask me this question: “We have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord, trusting in His holy word. He never failed me yet.” I was blessed to have a godfather who was a Bishop of a church in Hempstead, New York. My brothers and sister, along with my cousins, were in his church every Sunday as kids. We were in Sunday school, the church choir, and we were there for every church revival. My mother and father had such a deep faith in God, and that set a huge example for me.

KW: Sherry Gillam would like to know what is the most important life lesson you’ve learned so far? 

SLR: Discernment. There is something that my mother would say when things happen; good, bad or indifferent: “Everything happens for a wise purpose.” This goes back to the spiritual component of my life that has developed and evolved over time. It is human nature to question things that occur, certainly if you feel like it puts you at a disadvantage or hurts your feelings. When I begin to question those things, I replay my mother’s words, sit in silence and ask myself the honest and sometimes tough questions. What is the purpose? What lesson am I supposed to learn? What role did I play in this? If it is necessary for me to act, this exercise allows me to address things with courage, humility and grace.

KW: What is your favorite dish to cook?

SLR: I love to cook curry shrimp with vegetables and fried plantains with Basmati rice. Kam, I have been told that my dish is delicious and nutritious. Do you remember that line from Brown Sugar?

KW: Yep! When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

SLR: I see a harmonious blend of my mother and father, and I am a reflection of their love.

  

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

SLR: My heart would be so full if I could have one more Sunday dinner with my mom, dad and Giovanni.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

SLR: Scratch offs!

KW: Thanks for the time, Sandra, and best of luck with the book.

SLR: Thank you so much, Kam! I am honored to have spent this time with you.

To order a copy of “Rice & Rocks,” visit:

https://www.amazon.com/Rice-Rocks-Sandra-L-Richards/dp/1940014735

Source:  Baret News

Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters

 

The Shallows,  Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams, Blake Lively, enjoyable screamfestThe Shallows

Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams

Blake Lively Shines as Surfer Stranded in Shark-Infested Waters

Nancy Adams (Blake Lively) was so shaken by her mother’s (Janelle Bailey) untimely death that she’s dropped out of med school. In order to feel closer to her dearly departed mom, she’s decided to vacation at the same exotic Mexican retreat where she was reportedly conceived back in 1991. An avid surfer, she also plans to search for the stretch for her mom’s favorite beach.

Upon arriving, Nancy is so impatient to find that idyllic, uncharted spot, that she impulsively heads for the ocean with her surfboard, handbag and smartphone, abandoning her bushed traveling companion at the hotel. Instead, she accepts a ride to the shore from the very obliging Carlos (Oscar Jaenada), an affable local yokel who is more than happy to serve as the bikini-clad hitchhiker’s chauffeur and navigator.

He drives away right after depositing her at the secluded cove, yet Nancy has no qualms about being left alone, since she does have cell service. Next thing you know, she’s blissfully paddling out to deep water where she’s surrounded by a pod of playful dolphins as she starts riding the mammoth waves. 

The plot thickens soon after she spots the bobbing carcass of a humpback whale. What Nancy doesn’t recognize until it’s too late is that she’s inadvertently entered the feeding grounds of a still-hungry shark who’d rather dine on human flesh than cetacean.

She subsequently suffers a nasty gash from the initial attack but is somehow able to swim to a tiny, low-lying island nearby. Her medical training comes in handy as she quickly fashions a tourniquet from part of her outfit.

Still, with high tide coming in a matter of hours, she knows that she’s got to figure out how to survive once this temporary sanctuary sinks below sea level. The shore is 200 yards away, which is way to far to swim with a determined predator steadily circling as her blood drips into the water.

A couple of potential rescuers (Jose Manuel Trujillo Salas and Angelo Josue Lozano Corzo) show up, but hope fades fast when the dopey duo simply starts swimming without noticing the damsel-in-distress. The next beachgoer (Diego Espejel) does see that Nancy’s in need, but he seizes the opportunity to steal her phone and other personal effects left on the sand.

This means spunky Nancy must survive by her wits, a daunting challenge given her dire straits. Thus unfolds The Shallows, an engaging, edge-of-the-seat thriller expertly directed by Jaume Collett-Serra (Non-Stop) to ratchet up the tension.

The movie borrows elements from Jaws (headstrong, maniacal shark), Castaway (this stranded heroine bonds with a seagull instead of a volleyball), Blue Crush (oodles of gratuitous titillation) and MacGyver (a brilliant tinkerer exhibits endless ingenuity). The good news is that it all has been sewn together quite seamlessly yielding a thoroughly enjoyable screamfest reminding us that it’s still not safe to swim in the ocean.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for bloody images, intense scenes of peril and brief profanity

Running time: 86 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: Deleted scenes; Shooting in the Shallows; How to Build a Shark; When Sharks Attack; and Finding the Perfect Beach: Lord Howe Island.

 

To order a copy of The Shallows on Blu-ray, visit: 

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B01HH7KC60/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

For movies opening September 23, 2016

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules

Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun

by Kam Williams

For movies opening September 23, 2016

MOVIES OPENING THIS WEEK,   Kam's Kapsules,  Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun,  by Kam Williams

BIG BUDGET FILMS

The Magnificent Seven (PG-13 for intense violence, smoking, profanity and suggestive material) Remake of the 1960 classic Western revolving around a rag-tag team of gunslingers recruited by a desperate widow (Haley Bennett) to defend her tiny frontier town from a ruthless gang of outlaws. Co-starring Denzel Washington, Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo.

Storks (PG for mild action and mature themes) Animated comedy about a flock of storks that abandons its traditional mission to deliver packages for a global corporate giant. Plot thickens when a rising star (Andy Samberg) risks a promotion promised by his boss (Kelsey Grammer) by attempting to make his first ever baby drop after accidentally manufacturing an adorable, little bundle of joy. Voice cast includes Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael key, Jordan Peele and Danny Trejo.

INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS

Chronic (R for nudity and profanity) Poignant character study starring Tim Roth in the title role as a caregiver for the terminally-ill who apparently needs his patients as much as they need him. Support cast includes Michael Cristofer, Elizabeth Tulloch and Tate Ellington.

Closet Monster (Unrated) Homoerotic drama, set in Newfoundland, about a gay teen (Connor Jessup) who hides his sexual preference from his intolerant, short-tempered father (Aaron Abrams) after witnessing a hate crime, until he falls in love with a handsome co-worker (Aliocha Schneider). With Isabella Rossellini, Joanne Kelly and Jinji Dawson. 

Dirty 30 (PG-13 for sexuality, drug use and debauchery) Female empowerment adventure about a couple of jaded women (Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart) who throw a bawdy birthday party to lift the sagging spirits of a lifelong friend turning 30 (Mamrie Hart), only to see the soiree spiral out of control. Featuring Adam Lustick, Anna Akana and Annie Sertich.

The Dressmaker (R for brief profanity and a scene of violence) Kate Winslet handles the title role in this Prodigal Daughter drama, set in 1926, as a fashion designer who falls in love with a local hunk with a heart of gold (Liam Hemsworth) and transforms her hometown upon returning to Australia to care for her ailing, long-estranged mom (Judy Davis). Cast includes Hugo Weaving, Kerry Fox and Sarah Snook. 

Generation Startup (Unrated) Millennials are the focus of this documentary revolving around the entrepreneurial efforts of a half-dozen college grads building businesses in Detroit. 

I.T. (Unrated) Cat-and-mouse crime thriller about a successful businessman (Pierce Brosnan) who turns vigilante when his most trusted confidante (James Frecheville) starts sabotaging the company, stalking his teenage daughter (Stefanie Scott) and threatening his family. With Anna Friel, Austin Swift and Michael Nyqvist.      

The Lovers and the Despot (Unrated) Bamboo Curtain documentary about a successful South Korean director (Shin Sang-ok) who was kidnapped with his wife/actress (Choi Eun-hee) and delivered to dictator Kim Jong-Il to serve as the North Korean dictator’s personal filmmakers. (In Korean, Japanese and English with subtitles)

Made in France (Unrated) Jihadist thriller about an investigative journalist (Malik Zili) who infiltrates a cell of disaffected Islamic youth planning a terrorist attack on Paris. With Dimitri Storoge, Francois Civil and Nassim Si Ahmed. (In French with subtitles)

Queen of Katwe (PG for an accident scene, mature themes and suggestive material) Madina Malwanga portrays the title character of this uplifting biopic, Phionsa Mutesi, the Ugandan chess prodigy who overcomes poverty and misogyny to become a grandmaster with the help of a volunteer (David Oyelowo) who organizes a chess club in her humble village. With Lupita N’yongo, Martin Kabanza and Taryn Kyaze.   

The Ruins of Lifta (Unrated) Middle East documentary about a Palestinian village which was abandoned during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War but never repopulated after the founding of the Jewish State.

Seed: The Untold Story (Unrated) Eco-documentary chronicling the David vs. Goliath effort of indigenous peoples and family farmers to preserve thousands of varieties of seeds being destroyed and/or appropriated by agribusiness and chemical conglomerates. (In English, Spanish and Hindi with subtitles)

Source:  Baret News