Tag Archives: entertainment

Dr. Wilda Reviews: The Dragon Pearl

30 Jun

Moi received a complimentary copy of the Dragon Pearl which was exclusively released to Walmart on June 18, 2013 and which will be available on DVD on August 20, 2013. Here is a synopsis and Youtube trailer:

Josh and Ling were expecting a boring vacation visiting each of their parents at an archaeological dig in China. But the new friends soon discover they’re right in the middle of an adventure when they find a Chinese Golden Dragon.

Director:

Mario Andreacchio

Writers:

Mario Andreacchio (story), John Armstrong (original script), 3 more credits »

Stars:

Sam Neill, Li Lin Jin, Louis Corbett | See full cast and crew

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwgJ-HbwKlg

What this movie does well is provide “family-friendly” entertainment. It was a good movie which could have been a very good movie by stronger character portrayal and better special effects. The martial arts action at the end of the movie really saved the show.

This was a joint Chinese- Australian production and moi wondered whether the story which is really a beautiful fable should have been handled more deftly. Some of the characters appeared to be caricatures. Prime example was the Temple caretaker role, Wu Dong, which was played by Jordan Chan. Maybe a performance which would have focused more on the wisdom of a Temple caretaker who was charged with protecting a legacy would have been more effective.

The story is based upon the role that dragons and pearls have in Chinese history. Dragons and Dragon Lore, by Ernest Ingersoll, [1928], at sacred-texts.com provides some context in Chapter Ten: The Dragon’s Precious Pearl The story is based on a Chinese fable about a Chinese dragon who gave his pearl, the source of his power, to a good Chinese Emperor to help him win a battle against his enemies. The Emperor’s daughter re-writes history when her father is killed in battle to say the pearl was lost when it really was buried in the Emperor’s tomb. The dragon has been waiting thousands of years for the “chosen” one to return the pearl. This is a great fable would should provide the strong backbone of any fantasy movie.

Sam Neill plays a divorced father who is the leader of the archeological team excavating the Emperor’s tomb. His son, played by Louis Corbett comes to visit him for the summer. There just wasn’t the chemistry between the two, even for a relationship which has been strained by divorce. Li Lin Jin who plays Ling is very good as the sensible Chinese girl. Again, the stereotypes are present as Corbett plays the clueless westerner. The children meet the caretaker when they return a flute he lost to the Temple. The music, by Frank Strangio, which wafts through the production is quite good. This music can only be heard by the “chosen” one which is Ling. At the Temple, the children encounter the dragon. The villain, Philip Dukas played by Robert Mammone added an unexpected twist.

The movie is weakest on special effects. The dragon is only OK and the pearl looks like a dot which is places over people’s heads when the face is to be obscured. Probably, the pearl is supposed to convey energy, but it just looks lame. The strongest parts of the movie are the music, the beautiful photography and scenery and the beautiful fable. Moi recommends the movie because the whole family can watch together and the martial arts action is quite enjoyable.

Dr. Wilda recommends the Dragon Pearl as family friendly entertainment.

Other Reviews:

The Dragon Pearl                                                  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/dragon-pearl-film-review-sam-neill-335529

The Dragon Pearl                                                 http://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/the-dragon-pearl

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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Seattle Children’s Hospital study: Parental attitudes influence children’s media choices

24 Jun

 

Some one told moi a story about a woman who wanted to introduce her 12 year old son to culture. The way she set about the introduction was to buy tickets for the entire Ring by Wagner. Perhaps, her son thoroughly enjoyed the Ring. More likely, he probably developed a hatred for opera. About the time that school starts around the beginning of September, many arts organizations begin their season. It is good to introduce your child to all types of artistic endeavors, but one should chose wisely by looking for cues as to what the child’s interests are and having an awareness of content.

 

What Types of Rating Systems Exist?

 

 

The Federal Trade Commission  (FTC) maintains a system of ratings to guide families in making appropriate entertainment choices for their children. The system describes movie ratings, many other venues such as theaters may use the system to describe their content. The Movie Ratings are: 

 

General Audience.All ages admitted. This signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.

Parental Guidance Suggested.Some material may not be suitable for children. This signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children – material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

Parents Strongly Cautioned.Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. This signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; one use of the harsher sexually derived words may be heard.

Restricted-Under 17requires accompanying parent or adult guardian (age varies in some locations). This signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film’s use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.

No One 17 and Under Admitted.This signifies that the rating board believes that most American parents would feel that the film is patently adult and that children age 17 and under should not be admitted to it. The film may contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not, however, signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic.

 

 

Information about the rating system and the history of movie ratings can be found at Film Ratings

 

 

Often parents want to look at other rating systems for content and the Entertainment Ratings Software Board (ERSB) also has a rating system.

 

 

ESRB Rating Symbols

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD
Titles rated
EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE
Titles rated
E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

 

EVERYONE 10+
Titles rated
E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

 

TEEN
Titles rated
T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

 

MATURE
Titles rated
M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

 

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated
AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

 

RATING PENDING
Titles listed as
RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

 

 

 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a caution system and which is described at Parental Advisory

 

 

Mary Guiden reports in the Seattle Children’s Hospital study, Parent cultural attitudes, beliefs associated with child’s media viewing habits:

 

 

Differences in parental beliefs and attitudes regarding the effects of media on early childhood development may help explain the increasing racial/ethnic disparities in child media viewing/habits, according to a new study by Wanjiku Njoroge, MD, of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

 

The findings support national research that preschool-aged children spend considerable time with media, a situation that brings both risks and benefits for cognitive and behavioral outcomes depending on what is watched and how it is watched. A 2006 Kaiser Family Foundation media study, for example, highlighted that ethnically/racially diverse children—specifically African American, Hispanic and Asian children—watch more television than non-Hispanic white children.

 

New study included almost 600 parents

 

A total of 596 parents of children ages three to five years completed demographic questionnaires, reported on attitudes regarding media’s risks and benefits to their children, and completed one-week media diaries in which they recorded all of the programs their children watched.

 

According to study results, children watched an average of 462 minutes of TV per week, with African American children watching more TV and DVDs per week than did children of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. The relationship between the child’s race/ethnicity and average weekly media time was no longer statistically significant, however, after controlling for socioeconomic status (parental educational attainment and reported annual family income).

 

Small study sample size may have affected results

 

Once we took SES into account, some of the findings disappeared,” said Njoroge. “That could be due to the small numbers.” The makeup of the study sample was 409 non-Hispanic white, 41 African American, 49 Asian American/Pacific Islander/Hawaiian and 97 multiracial children. Despite this limitation, the research teams’ findings echo national survey results indicating that TV viewing differs across race/ethnicity and SES.

 

Significant differences were found between parents of ethnically/racially diverse children and parents of non-Hispanic white children regarding the perceived positive effects of TV viewing, even when parental education and family income were taken into account.

 

Future research needs larger samples of children from diverse backgrounds

 

These findings point to an important relationship between parental attitudes and beliefs about child media use and time that could be useful for intervention,” said Njoroge. “Because of the strong relationship between SES and media exposure in our sample, future research with larger samples of children from diverse backgrounds is warranted to better understand the complexities of race/ethnicity, family SES, and parental beliefs and attitudes on child media exposure.”

 

Njoroge and colleagues have several follow-up studies in the works. “We know that media is an enduring presence in the lives of young children and families,” she said. “Therefore, we need to understand differences across parenting cultural styles, so that recommendations can be tailored to families regarding their young child’s media use.”

 

Dimitri Christakis, MD, MPH, a co-author on Njoroge’s study, released findings earlier this year about the importance of a “media diet” for children, with an emphasis on less violent programming and more educational and prosocial programs. Njoroge’s research is through the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. She is also an assistant professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington.

 

Study co-authors, funding support

 

This study was supported by a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (1 R01 HD 056506-01A2) and grant R01 HD 56506 from NICHD Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-08-190, Media Impact on Preschool Behavior). Study co-authors include Laura Elenbaas, BA (University of Maryland); Michelle Garrison, PhD (Seattle Children’s Research Institute); and Mon Myaing, PhD (Seattle Children’s Research Institute). http://pulse.seattlechildrens.org/parent-cultural-attitudes-beliefs-associated-with-childs-media-viewing-habits/

 

What Types of Rating Systems Exist?

 

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains a system of ratings to guide families in making appropriate entertainment choices for their children. The system describes movie ratings, many other venues such as theaters may use the system to describe their content. The Movie Ratings are: 

 

 

General Audience.All ages admitted. This signifies that the film rated contains nothing most parents will consider offensive for even their youngest children to see or hear. Nudity, sex scenes, and scenes of drug use are absent; violence is minimal; snippets of dialogue may go beyond polite conversation but do not go beyond common everyday expressions.

Parental Guidance Suggested.Some material may not be suitable for children. This signifies that the film rated may contain some material parents might not like to expose to their young children – material that will clearly need to be examined or inquired about before children are allowed to attend the film. Explicit sex scenes and scenes of drug use are absent; nudity, if present, is seen only briefly, horror and violence do not exceed moderate levels.

Parents Strongly Cautioned.Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. This signifies that the film rated may be inappropriate for pre-teens. Parents should be especially careful about letting their younger children attend. Rough or persistent violence is absent; sexually-oriented nudity is generally absent; some scenes of drug use may be seen; one use of the harsher sexually derived words may be heard.

Restricted-Under 17requires accompanying parent or adult guardian (age varies in some locations). This signifies that the rating board has concluded that the film rated contains some adult material. Parents are urged to learn more about the film before taking their children to see it. An R may be assigned due to, among other things, a film’s use of language, theme, violence, sex or its portrayal of drug use.

No One 17 and Under Admitted.This signifies that the rating board believes that most American parents would feel that the film is patently adult and that children age 17 and under should not be admitted to it. The film may contain explicit sex scenes, an accumulation of sexually-oriented language, or scenes of excessive violence. The NC-17 designation does not, however, signify that the rated film is obscene or pornographic.

 

Information about the rating system and the history of movie ratings can be found at Film Ratings

 

 Often parents want to look at other rating systems for content and the Entertainment RatingsSoftware Board (ERSB) also has a rating system.

 

 

ESRB Rating Symbols

 

EARLY CHILDHOOD
Titles rated
EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.

EVERYONE
Titles rated
E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

EVERYONE 10+
Titles rated
E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

TEEN
Titles rated
T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.

MATURE
Titles rated
M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

ADULTS ONLY
Titles rated
AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

RATING PENDING
Titles listed as
RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game’s release.)

 

 

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has a caution system and which is described at Parental Advisory

 

 

What Questions Should a Parent Ask a Venue About Content?

 

 

  1. Does a particular venue have a ratings system for content? 

 

  1. What is the model for the ratings system? Is it like film ratings or ESRB? 

 

  1. How descriptive is the rating system, does it give examples of the type of language or situation which might be problematic? 

 

  1. Where is the rating for each production listed? Is it in the descriptive brochure? Is this information on the web site? Are box office personnel familiar with the ratings? 

 

  1. If a family has concerns about a particular production, how should concerns be addressed to the venue if the family finds the production does not match the rating description? 

 

Families have different viewpoints about what is appropriate content for their child or children. Some families seek out a variety of experiences for their children while others are more restrained in what they feel is appropriate. All families need to ask questions about content to find what is appropriate for their child and their value system.

 

 

Where Information Leads to Hope ©     Dr. Wilda.com

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                             https://drwilda.com/

 

TED teams up with PBS: What is TED?

6 May

Elizabeth Jensen reports in the New York Times article, TED Teams Up With PBS on Ideas for Education:

Television viewers — even those who watch the more sober-minded PBS — are generally not keen on sitting through long speeches. But TED, the nonprofit group that sponsors conferences on ideas, thinks it has found a way to bring its signature 18-minute talks to a TV audience that may not have found them on the Web or through mobile apps.

In its first television foray, TED has joined forces with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the New York public broadcaster WNET for a one-hour special, “TED Talks Education,” to be broadcast on PBS on Tuesday. If it is successful, the program could become a template for future joint projects, said Juliet Blake, one of the show’s executive producers and the TED official charged with bringing the conferences to television.

The program was 18 months in the making, a short time for public broadcasting but long for TED, which is accustomed to the more immediate online world. Other suitors have also sought to do TED television projects, Ms. Blake said, but “to reach the audience we want to reach, public television was the place.”

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting paid for the show’s $1 million costs under the auspices of an initiative that addresses the high school drop-out problem in the United States. “It was the perfect marriage of ideas that matter and our core value of education,” said Patricia Harrison, the corporation’s chief executive. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/06/business/media/ted-partners-with-pbs-for-education-program.html?ref=education&_r=0

That prompted moi to ask, what is TED?

This is how TED describes itself at its site:

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference on the West Coast each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TED Talks video site, the Open Translation Project and TED Conversations, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

The two annual TED conferences, on the North American West Coast and in Edinburgh, Scotland, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).

On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 1400 TED Talks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.

Our mission: Spreading ideas.

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. This site, launched April 2007, is an ever-evolving work in progress, and you’re an important part of it. Have an idea? We want to hear from you.

The springtime TED Conference is held annually on the West Coast and simulcast at a nearby city. The breadth of content includes science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.

TEDActive is a curated community of curious and energetic leaders who share an immersive week of watching TED Talks and surprising experiences designed to inspire conversation, exchange and immediate action around ideas worth spreading — all in a creative and casual setting.

TEDGlobal is TED’s summer conference. The themes of the global conference are slightly more international in nature, and the full TED format is maintained, with a wide-ranging roster of speakers and performers over four days of TED mainstage sessions — plus the famous TED University, where attendees share their own knowledge with one another. TEDGlobal was held in Oxford, UK, in 2005, 2009 and 2010, and in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007. TEDGlobal is now held annually in Edinburgh, Scotland.

TED also hosts events around the globe. TEDIndia was held in November 2009 in Mysore, India, celebrating and exploring the beckoning future of South Asia. TEDWomen was held in December 2010 in Washington, DC, asking the question: How are women and girls reshaping the future? TED also hosts smaller events around the globe, including many TED Salons, evening-length events with speakers and performers, and TED@ events, exploring a topic or location.

The TED Prize is awarded annually to an exceptional individual, and is designed to leverage the TED Community’s wide array of talents and resources. In 2012, the cash award was raised to $1 million to provide powerful seed funding for “A Wish to Inspire the World.” After several months of preparation, the wish is unveiled during a ceremony at the TED Conference. Over the life of the prize, wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.

TED Talks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TED Talks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices. As of November 2012, TED Talks have been viewed more than one billion times.

The TED Fellows program helps world-changing innovators from around the globe become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED Fellows, TEDGlobal Fellows, and TED Senior Fellows are drawn from many disciplines that reflect the diversity of TED’s members: technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, the humanities, the arts, NGOs, business and more.

The TEDx program gives communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently.

The TED Open Translation Project brings TED Talks beyond the English-speaking world by offering subtitles, interactive transcripts and the ability for any talk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. We launched the project with 300 translations, 40 languages and 200 volunteer translators; now, there are more than 32,000 completed translations from our thousands-strong community. It’s an ambitious project that radically enhances the accessibility of the talks — for the hearing-impaired, for those who speak English as a second language, for search engines (which can now index the full transcript of a talk), and of course for the vast audience of non-English speakers worldwide.

Today, TED is best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who seek a deeper understanding of the world.                                                                                              http://www.ted.com/

See, About TED » Who we are » Who owns TED http://www.ted.com/pages/42

Here is information about the Sapling Foundation from Guidestar:

Basic Organization Information

SAPLING FOUNDATION

Physical Address:
New York, NY 10013 
EIN:
94-3235545
NTEE Category:
T Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking 
T99 (Other Philanthropy, Voluntarism, and Grantmaking Foundations N.E.C.) 
Year Founded:
1996 
Ruling Year:
1996 

Sign in or create an account to see this organization’s full address, contact information, and more!

http://www.guidestar.org/organizations/94-3235545/sapling-foundation.aspx

Nilofer Merchant writes in the Business Insider article, Is TED Elite?

Five common myths of TED and my take on them:

1. It’s Snobby.

To get into TED Long Beach, you have been picked because you are at the top of your game, in business, politics, education, social media, or whatever. There’s a definite snobbiness to that. I got rejected the first time I applied. So in some ways, this myth is completely true, yet I’ve already shared that being with this crowd has allowed me to stop playing small. Because most people are already established, the energy that many take into impressing each other is (largely) gone. That let’s us have more real conversations.

That said, you’d be surprised if you looked around at the demographics to see that there’s a vast range of economics, age, sex, and geographies represented at the TED Long Beach conference itself.That tells me TED is being intentional about the mix of who they bring together.

It has about 25% of the stage full of women, the highest I know of, besides an all-women’s conference. And, about 30% of the participants are women, which represents a pretty good mix. Not great – I’d love to see more gender parity, and this is a place of improvement that SheTalksTED advocates.

2. It’s pretentious.

This is a tough one.  I don’t believe the #TED organizers are not aiming to be pretentious. What I do see is a lot of people who come to TED for the first time, tweet comments from it to show their friends’ back home that they are at TED and their friend’s are not. I can see the temptation of tweeting that you are, say, sitting next to @ev, or Cameron Diaz, or Jeff Bezos or Tony Hsieh. But I think that’s the behavior that happens when first-timers are just a wee-bit impressed that they are “in” the club. Most people, thankfully, do not do this.  And perhaps if the new-bie understood the cultural norms of TED better, they would be more self-managing.  

The ideas developed in 18 minutes don’t lend themselves to tweetability. So sometimes we sound inane, as Jeff Jarvis was right to point out.

The actual curators of TED see what they do as a huge responsibility. One curator works in a sort of 24×7 way and is currently helping curate and support the folks in Cairo, and other Middle Eastern cities have neutral (non-political, non-sectarian) conversations that could truly change the world. He won’t get credit, or money, and neither is his goal. TED has come to represent the best ideas to change the world. His goal is truly to help change the world by the possibility of great ideas, being told well, and then discussed amongst that community. I don’t know about you, but I am so seriously hoping for what might happen. (I don’t have permission to share his story but I’m hoping he’ll forgive me)

3. There is no action out of it.

A good friend of mine, Michael Dila, said something a few years ago that has stuck with me: conversations are truly the only way in the world is changed, not technology. Conversation drives a new way of thinking, therefore new states of being, and the results that follow from that. The purpose of having loads of white spaces into the conference is to talk about ideas. I got into an interesting conversation with the head of WPP, one of the largest advertising organizations in the world about the situation in Nigeria, which was a deeply thoughtful idea about how to change an entire country known best for corruption. I don’t underestimate this discussion or what could happen if the head of WPP thinks about how to change the world with any of the ideas presented but without this venue, there is little likelihood most of us would spend 18 minutes thinking about Nigeria and corruption and how to influence the situation. Action follows from a shift in mindset. So I think TED creates context, the rest is up to us.

Second thing related to action. Bill Gates curated a session where he highlighted the Khan Academy. I didn’t know of this organization, founded by a former hedge fund creating YouTube videos, to help people learn. This was where I wanted people to tweet and many did. Education could be changed dramatically if this idea that Jennifer Pahlka captured: reverse homework and classwork, let them watch the videos at home and work on problems in class. So while no action was done right at that very moment, the 1000 or so conversations people had when they called home might just bring that idea into the system so that 100, 1000, or 10,000 educational institutions try something new in the next few years.

Of course, many other good efforts that flow from the TEDPrize to help create the change we wish to see in the world.  Architecture for Humanity, an amazing organization creating a more sustainable future, through the power of architectural design. They got hyper-boosters on their mission, by TED and the TED community.

3. Money goes to line their pockets.

One big myth is that Chris Anderson and the folks at TED must be doing this to be rich.  TED is owned by the Sapling Foundation, a 501(c)3 foundation and all the profits are reinvested in things like the TED Prize and distributing the talks free online. Chris Anderson doesn’t even take a salary (he made his money when he founded Business2.0) and he took over the TED conference and a short 7 years later he (and his team) opened it up with TEDEd, TEDFellows, TED.com, TEDx and so on.  I don’t know about you but I get pretty tired when I just think of all they have done…

Add to this mix, the 40 or so TEDFellows, a group of innovators, artists and change agents,  curated by Tom Reilly, from around the world,  to amplify the work of people who are working to change the world. All those Fellows need funding and support and the Sapling Foundation does that.  So if my measly thousands of dollars can help fuel access to ideas globally, I gladly give.

One important thing that Todd Lombardo helped me remember is the Sapling Foundation may not be transparent enough to ward off the critiques. How much money does it cost to run these events? Are all the amenities necessary? Palotta Teamworks who ran the AIDS Rides were registered as a for-profit company and weren’t transparent about the flow of capital through their organization… This ultimately ruined that company. I suspect the TED braintrust is working on this. 

4. You limit access to great ideas by limiting who gets to see it live.

While I love the immersive experience of TED Long Beach, I recognize there are many ways to experience it. Did you know there’s the simulcast at $500 where people can organizer a crowd of people in a high school gymnasium or one’s own living room (and split the costs to $1-25/head)? That means anyone who really wants to see it live, can.

Add to that, TEDActive and TEDx audiences and you can’t possibly say “it’s limited” cause “it” is now available to “us”. Laura Stein has set the TEDx licensee policy so that one **cannot** charge for attendance. Anybody could organize a TEDx, curate the best TED talks or local TEDxtalks and create something themselves. So, definitely not limited if you consider how accessible TED can be, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves

TED talks are translated, for free, by people from around the world, allowing 15 million people to view the well-produced talks online. In some ways, by editing well, instead of streaming live, it creates a library of high-production content that will let it be seen by more people than the streaming version would allow.

5. Aren’t they Hypocritial?

Consider the Sarah Silverman episode of 2010. She did what she was asked to do, Her brand of humor, her story. But because some (Steve Case was notable visible around this) felt uncomfortable with what she did, she was viewed as banished by Chris and some of the TED community.

I was there when this happened, and frankly I thought Chris was very genuine when he posted he hated it, but then he retreated. I think he could have said he hated it, others liked it and that’s what TED is all about — many ideas being discussed. A slightly awkward moment on twitter got caught into a huff but perhaps it was a learning moment… I don’t know.

In Summary

While I do think TED is full of elite people of many disciplines, ages and economics, it is not, in my opinion, Elitist. I have never seen a more open, curious group of people who truly want to understand the world better and to hopefully apply their skills and talents to contribute their part to make the world a better place. I tweeted yesterday that a great audience allows a speaker to step up his/her game and deliver the best idea that could change the world, well. So having TED the conference is important in the mission.

I notice that most of the people who “hate” on TED are people who have never been, as demonstrated by Sarah Lacey, Umair Haque, and Jeff Jarvis. Sarah posted a one-sided argument from someone this week that could have benefitted from a little more journalism. Umair posted something that could have been much tighter given a simple Google search. And Jeff Jarvis, whom I respect, was definitely taking jabs from afar calling it a cult. Can I ask you to come? Or at least attend a simulcast. Robert Scoble did a very thoughtful critique of TED, called Elephants in the Room, after coming and I respect him for what he shared….. http://www.businessinsider.com/is-ted-elite-2011-3

It will be interesting to see where the PBS and TED collaboration goes.

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The 05/05/13 Joy Jar

4 May

 

Moi saw Silver Linings Playbook and understood why it was so widely acclaimed. Besides a good story with great characters, it dealt with the subject of mental illness is a realistic and compassionate way. The movie was about HOPE. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are those inspirational movies which move our emotions and make us think about the way we think about life.

Give them pleasure. The same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.”
Alfred Hitchcock

It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.”
Roger Ebert

It’s funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen.”
Anthony Burgess

Books and movies, they are not mere entertainment. They sustain me and help me cope with my real life.”
Arlaina Tibensky

A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.
Stanley Kubrick

Movies can and do have tremendous influence in shaping young lives in the realm of entertainment towards the ideals and objectives of normal adulthood.
Walt Disney

Film is one if three universal languages, the other two: mathematics and music.”
Frank Capra

Never compare your love story to those you watch in movies. They’re written by scriptwriters, yours is written by God.”
Efren Peñaflorida Jr.

Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink?

1 May

 

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture. See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1107107/posts

 

The latest high-profile example of the value set of hip-hop occurred with the report that rapper Danny Brown performed oral sex on stage. Radio.com reported in the article, Rapper Danny Brown’s Onstage Antics Spark Oral Sex Controversy about an alleged oral sex incident.

 

 

Alternative rapper Danny Brown is used to performing for crowded clubs, like his sold-out Minneapolis show on Friday (April 26), but he’s answering to a much larger audience in the wake the allegedly X-rated performance.

 

Music fans have taken to social media, demanding answers from the rapper and posting personal accounts of the concert, where the rapper reportedly engaged in oral sex with a fan in the front of the crowd.

 

A Redditor who claims to have been at the show described the incident in detail, saying that Brown had been getting close to “random girls” in the front of the crowd throughout his performance, including the woman involved in the incident at hand.

 

Then I’m behind her and I start getting pushed against her by the crowd shifting,” the Redditor wrote. “It [was] horrible and I hope you guys will be donating to my future therapy sessions, but also I came back with a story. He rapped the entire time during [it] too.”

 

Brown’s Twitter followers are using the site as a platform to ask questions and voice their opinions, with fellow rapper Kendrick Lamar even chiming in.

 

Brown reportedly confirmed that the allegations are true, however his response has since been deleted, according to Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages.

 

Meanwhile, some people are outraged at the inappropriate act, while Brown takes their comments in stride by retweeting some of them, presumably to capture some ironic humor in the midst of controversy.

 

Brown did respond to one question, only saying that the incident is a “rumor” without officially confirming or denying it. http://news.radio.com/2013/05/01/danny-brown-x-rated-show/

 

The death cult of hip-hop has been on a lot of people’s radar for the past few years. Because of artistic freedom and the romanticizing  of some hip-hop and rap stars, those sounding the alarm about this death cult have been labeled as prudes, nervous ninnies, and anti-free speech. A 2005 Nightline story by Jake Tapper and Marie Nelson looked at the links between corporate America and hip-hop

 

The blueprint now is an image that promotes all of the worst aspects of violent and anti-social behavior,” said Source editor Mays. “It takes those real issues of violent life that occur in our inner cities, it takes them out of context.”

 

Attorney Londell McMillan, who represents Lil’ Kim and many other hip-hop performers, says the record labels and radio stations push the artists toward a more violent image. “They all seek to do things that are extraordinary,” he said, “unfortunately it’s been extraordinarily in the pain of a people. They are often encouraged to take a certain kind of approach to the art form.”

 

Added NYPD Commissioner Kelly, “Whereas some of the other violence was sort of attendant to the business itself, now I think they’re trying to exploit it and make money off of it.”

 

But C-Murder says if he projected a more benign image his career would be over. “I wouldn’t sell a record because my fans would know that’s not me,” he said. “They don’t expect me to just sit in that booth and write about stuff that the news or the media want to hear about.”

 

Record executive Dash adds there is a double standard between predominantly black and predominantly white music. “I remember Woodstock Part II was a mess,” Dash said, referring to the 1999 rock ‘n’ roll concert festival that exploded in a mass of riots and rapes. But, Dash said, “nothing more about it than that” transpired. “There wasn’t any new laws, there wasn’t any investigations. It just was.” 

 

Lest you think I am anti-capitalism, the real kind, not the corporate welfare of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, you are wrong. Most inner city neighborhoods and poor regions like Appalachia and Mississippi desperately need investment and capital to encourage entrepreneurs.  As the motto of Homeboy Industries states, the best defense against violence is a job.

 

Moi has been railing against the hip hop culture for years because it is destructive, produces violence, but just as important it stereotypes Blacks whether they participate in hip hop culture or not.

 

Does Hip-Hop Culture Affect Student Behavior?

 

Gosa and Young’s case study about the oppositional culture of hip-hop is a good description of the possible impact of a certain genre of music on the educational values of the young listeners.

 

Given the prominent, yet controversial theory of oppositional culture used to explain the poor academic achievement of black youth and recent concerns that hip-hop is leading black youth to adopt anti-school attitudes, we examine the construction of oppositional culture in hip-hop music. Through a qualitative case of song lyrics (n=250) from two of hip-hop’s most influential artists – “conscious” rapper Kanye West and “gangster” rapper Tupac Skakur, we find oppositional culture in both artist’s lyrics. However, our analysis reveals important differences in how the two artists describe the role of schooling in adult success, relationships with teachers and schools, and how education is related to authentic black male identity. Our findings suggest a need for reexamining the notion that oppositional culture means school resistance. 

 

The study gives a good description of oppositional culture, but it is overly optimistic about the role of the market place in promoting the basest values for a buck.

 

Lest one think that hip-hop culture is simply the province of thugs and low- income urban youth. Think again, there are many attempts to market a stylized version of the culture. A 1996 American Demographics article, Marketing Street Culture
Bringing Hip-Hop Style to the Mainstream, describes the marketing used to cross-over hip-hop culture into the mainstream.

 

Many of the hottest trends in teenage music, language, and fashion start in America’s inner cities, then quickly spread to suburbs. Targeting urban teens has put some companies on the map with the larger mainstream market. But companies need an education in hip-hop culture to avoid costly mistakes.

 

The Scene: Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a bastion of the white East Coast establishment. A teenaged boy saunters down the street, his gait and attitude embodying adolescent rebellion. Baggy jeans sag atop over-designed sneakers, gold hoops adorn both ears, and a baseball cap shields his eyes. On his chest, a Tommy Hilfiger shirt sports the designer’s distinctive pairing of blue, red, and white rectangles.

 

Four years ago, this outfit would have been unimaginable to this cool teen; only his clean-cut, country-club peers sported Hilfiger clothes. What linked the previously preppy Hilfiger to jeans so low-slung they seem to defy gravity? To a large extent, the answer lies 200 miles southwest, in the oversized personage of Brooklyn’s Biggie Smalls, an admitted ex-drug dealer turned rapper.

 

Over the past few years, Smalls and other hip-hop stars have become a crucial part of Hilfiger’s open attempt to tap into the urban youth market. In exchange for giving artists free wardrobes, Hilfiger found its name mentioned in both the rhyming verses of rap songs and their “shout-out” lyrics, in which rap artists chant out thanks to friends and sponsors for their support.

 

For Tommy Hilfiger and other brands, the result is de facto product placement. The September 1996 issue of Rolling Stone magazine featured the rap group The Fugees, with the men prominently sporting the Tommy Hilfiger logo. In February 1996, Hilfiger even used a pair of rap stars as runway models: horror-core rapper Method Man and muscular bad-boy Treach of Naughty by Nature.

 

Suburban normed or middle class youth may dabble in hip-hop culture, but they have a “recovery period.” The “recovery period” for suburban youth means moving from deviant norms, which preclude success into mainstream norms, which often promote success. Suburban children often have parental and peer social pressure to move them to the mainstream. Robert Downey, Jr., the once troubled actor is not necessarily an example of hip-hop culture, but he is an example of the process of “recovery” moving an individual back into the mainstream. Children of color and low-income children often do not get the chance to “recover” and move into mainstream norms. The next movement for them after a suspension or expulsion is often the criminal justice system.

 

The data is shouting load and clear. Hip-hop and rap culture more often than not is a destructive life choice.

 

 

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The 04/20/13 Joy Jar

19 Apr

Like many, has been watching the events in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Terror Bombing. She has been switching back and forth between channels using her remote. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the television remote.

Television is the most perfect democracy. You sit there with your remote control and vote.

Aaron Brown

If life had a remote control, I would:

PAUSE the beautiful moments
REWIND my mistakes.
FASTFORWARD through the heartbreak
STOP the drama.
PLAY the rest.

Unknown

Don’t let negative pictures play on the movie screen of your mind. You own the remote control. All you have to do is change the channel.

Unknown

He who controls the remote, controls the world

Julie Garwood

The 04/12/13 Joy Jar

11 Apr

Just as there is nothing like a dame, there is nothing like great musical theater. Moi saw ‘Jersey Boys’ which is the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It is probably one of the best musicals ever written. It has a great story, great music, a love story, it is fast paced and taunt. The musical is a uniquely American art form. A really good musical has you singing as you leave the theatre. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ is the musical.

 

 

Let’s sing our way out of this”
Isabel Fraire

 

 

I chose and my world was shaken. So what. The choice might have been mistaken, but choosing was not.”
Stephen Sondheim “Sunday in the Park with George”

 

 

In musical theater you have to be very big and very animated, while film and television are more toned down.

Kevin Richardson

 

 

I’ve never had any feeling of disconnection between the classical theater, or the contemporary theater, or musical theater, or the thing that we call opera.

Trevor Nunn

 

 

If an American audience is given a serious musical theater piece that is well produced, dramatically gripping and wonderfully acted, they’ll respond to it.

Carlisle Floyd

 

 

ll the best performers bring to their role something more, something different than what the author put on paper. That’s what makes theatre live. That’s why it persists.
Stephen Sondheim

 

I think there is no world without theatre.
Edward Bond

 

The theatre is the involuntary reflex of the ideas of the crowd.
Sarah Bernhardt

 

I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.
Oscar Wilde

 

I don’t think theater is dying, and musicals are a great American art form. We’ve got apple pie, jazz and musical theater.
Laura Benanti