This ain't yo mama o yo papa's Oz. Prior to seeing Oz the Great and Powerful today, I was aware that my favorite reviewer, Dana Stevens of Slate, had given it a terrible review. Her devastating headline: "No brain, no heart, no courage." After seeing such a scathing (and effective!) headline, I decided not to read the [...]
My Favorite (and Least Favorite) Movies of 2011
With the Oscars coming up tomorrow, I finally decided I needed to finish up this article that I have been slowly working on for a while. Rather than talk about who's likely to win the Oscars, it seems more worthwhile to stick to my guns and just provide a list of my favorite films from last year.
Movie Review: Dolphin Tale
As a crowd-pleasing family film, Dolphin Tale takes few risks but will still most likely be enjoyed by its target audience. It tells the "based on true events" story of Winter, a dolphin that lost its tail after getting caught in a crab trap off of the Florida Gulf Coast. After rescue and recovery, Winter learns to swim anew, in part thanks to a first-of-its-kind prosthetic dolphin tail.
Praying Mantis Escapes Death on Windshield, Now Beloved / Endangered Pet
A couple days ago we hopped into our car and pulled out of the driveway. Moments later, I saw an interesting looking insect clinging to our windshield. I thought it looked like a praying mantis, and sure enough Alicia thought it was too.
Help Save the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps
Over the past 27 years, nearly 15,000 young Pennsylvania citizens have served in the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps. Now, however, the program that served as a confidence builder and stepping stone for so many young people has been targeted for elimination.
Rating the Top 13 Contestants on Season 10 of American Idol
Season 10 of American Idol is terrific. Whereas previous seasons have lost viewer interest and enthusiasm, I personally think that this might be the best season so far. In short, the contestants are much, much stronger as a group than in previous seasons. They also have some of the most unique and diverse styles of singing and performing ever seen on American Idol. I think a lot of credit should be given to new judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez for helping to make this happen. While such a declaration may provoke chuckles, there are some numbers to back it up.
Youth and the America’s Great Outdoor Initiative
While the America's Great Outdoors Initiative (AGO) targets all Americans, getting young people outside and enthusiastic about the outdoors is a major priority of the initiative that deserves elevated attention.
Presenting the 2011 Service and Conservation Corps Members of the Year
Each year The Corps Network honors Service and Conservation Corpsmembers whose accomplishments and personal stories exemplify the positive role that Corps serve for individuals and communities nationwide. As a member organization, we proudly represent over 150 organizations that operate in a total of 46 states and the District of Columbia. Approximately 33,000 young men and women join these organizations each year so that they can make a difference. They work on a broad range of projects, viewing themselves as the modern legacy-bearers of the legendary Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Farewell to the Creator of the Ant Farm
I will make it no secret. I've been asking my wife for years if we could get a glow-in-the-dark ant farm. Now that our daughter is 3, the moment is imminent when I will probably enjoy our new pets more than she will. So when I saw news today that Milton Levine had died, "the co-creator of ant farms," I felt sad.
The Amazon and Red Pandas [Photos from the National Zoo]
These photos are from one of my family's recent visits to the National Zoo. During the winter, the Zoo's Amazonia building is a warm, humid, and enchanting refuge from the cold outside.