Saturday, September 10, 2011

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

On Stranger Tides

TFK Kid Reporter Taylor Pannell with actor Geoffrey Rush, who plays Captain Hector Barbosa.

In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth of Disney's Pirates adventures, Johnny Depp returns as the hilarious Jack Sparrow. The swashbuckling sequel finds Captain Jack aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the most infamous seafarer ever: Blackbeard. The evil pirate needs Jack's help to find the elusive Fountain of Youth. He'll stop at nothing to get to it, even if it means threatening to kill his own daughter (and Jack's old flame) Angelica, to get Jack to cooperate.

Now a prisoner, Jack must deal with not only the fearsome Blackbeard, but also a creepy crew of zombie men and eerily beautiful mermaids, who lure sailors to their watery graves. Will they make it to the Fountain of Youth alive? Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in theaters today.

Getting Their Sea Legs

TFK Kid Reporter Taylor Pannell traveled to Beverly Hills, California, to interview Geoffrey Rush, who plays Captain Hector Barbossa, and Astrid Berges-Frisbey, who plays the mermaid Syrena. In this installment, Rush's Barbossa returns with a peg leg. His wooden limb and Syrena's mermaid tail both had to be added into the film later on.

How did the special effects team do it? Berges-Frisbey explains: "[I wore] a pair of shorts that were digitally recreated using computer graphics [to look like a mermaid's tail]." During filming, the actress also wore special dots on her legs to track the way she moved. This helped filmmakers transform the bottom half of her body into creature form.

While the other pirates in the movie weren't required to wear tracking dots, they certainly didn't have light and airy costumes either. "I still can't figure out why, in all the heat of the tropical islands, that pirates still wore really long hair, heavy front coats, big hats and long leather boots," Rush observes. "Pirates should have invented shorts and crew cuts! They would have been much better off."
Kid Reporter

A Rising Talent

Most people would be intimidated working on a big film with big stars such as Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz and Geoffrey Rush. So, how was it for a Hollywood newcomer like Berges-Frisbey on the set? "I was afraid of what I would find," the actress admits to TFK. "But everyone made us feel comfortable." She adds: "Because Johnny truly loves his part, and he's had so much fun playing Jack Sparrow all of these years, he shares that energy with the people on the set."

In fact, Depp was so supportive of the cast and crew that he even did some clean-up work, says Berges-Frisbey. "I had to be in the water a lot [for my part]. Sometimes it would get dirty, and Johnny was even in there cleaning the water for me!" she recalls. "It is possible to be a big star and still be really humble. It's inspiring. I feel really lucky to have worked with them."

Nature's Way

This summer, thousands of visitors are walking through a garden in the sky—right in the middle of New York City. They are enjoying a beautiful, new park called the High Line, which was constructed on old railway tracks.

After the railway was abandoned in 1980, wild plants, grass and trees began to grow between the tracks. A few people looked at this natural garden and saw something amazing. They worked to preserve the area when others wanted to tear it down. Today, the High Line attracts up to 2 million visitors per year. This summer, the new part of the High Line opened, almost doubling the park's size to one mile.

A Place to Play

The design of the park is unique. The new section includes many activities for children. Young people can use building toys, including wood planks, wheels, ropes, gears, pulleys and tools, to create one-of-a kind structures. The toys don't come with instructions. Instead, children use their imaginations to fashion forts, creatures and machines.

Children also enjoy a part of the park called the "flyover." The flyover is made of metal grating, which has been raised over the elevated tracks. Trees grow under and around it, giving you the feeling of walking through a jungle.
Kid Reporter

Let's Get Together

"Everyone supporting the High Line project wanted the park to embrace the city," says Danya Sherman, director of public programs for the Friends of the High Line. The Friends of the High Line is the group that saved the railway from demolition. Sherman believes that public spaces such as the High Line have the power to bring communities together.

The park also gives visitors a chance to experience nature in an urban environment. The designers have allowed the park to keep the overgrown feeling that it had when it was an abandoned track. If you visit, you can see birds, butterflies and many plants native to the northeastern United States.

The Friends of the High Line hope to expand the park even further, over an area that is still used as a rail yard. The High Line has also inspired projects in other cities, including Philadelphia, Chicago, and Amsterdam, where people hope to build new parks on old railway tracks.

Judy Moody Hits the Big Screen TIME For Kids gives you a sneak peek of the thrilladelic movie about America's favorite third grader

Judy Moody, the character from the wildly popular series by author Megan McDonald, is hitting the big screen. Readers know Judy Moody as snarky, witty, loving and, yes, a smidge moody. On June 10, fans can see Judy and her little brother, Stink, in the movie Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer. Mega rare!

"It all started because I wanted to tell some funny stories about growing up with all of my sisters," says McDonald of the book series. "Fans will be so excited because they'll see Judy's whole world in the film."

What's the Story?

After school is let out, Judy (played by Jordana Beatty) gathers her friends and tells them her awesome summer plan for them all. To her dismay, her closest friends are leaving for other adventures, including a circus camp and a mysterious island. The one friend who stays behind with Judy is too scared to do any of the things Judy had planned, such as tight-roping across the river in the forest near her house. It looks like another boring summer for Judy Moody.

Judy is even more bummed when she finds out her parents are going to California and she has to stay home with her Aunt Opal. Lucky for Judy, Opal turns out to be the aunt every kid wishes to have. Like Judy, Aunt Opal can turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary adventure. She is a free spirit who comes up with fun activities for the kids and her to do, such as going to look for the mythical monster, "Bigfoot," in the woods.

Book vs. Movie

Author Megan McDonald wrote the movie's screenplay. Still, there are some differences between the movie and the books. In the books, Judy is a bit more sarcastic and quick to judge. In the movie, however, Judy is more dramatic than snarky or rude. She's much sweeter in the movie too. Another big difference between the movie and book series is Judy's brother, Stink. In the book, Stink is the boring little brother who gets in the way of a good time. In the movie, however, Stink is Judy's sidekick. He helps his sister whenever she needs it.

Parris Mosteller plays Stink in the movie. "As the movie started filming," Parris told TFK, "I helped to make the character's role even bigger by adding my own take to Stink's fun."

At a recent preview of Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer, audience member Clarice Mulvey, 9, gave the movie a big thumbs-up. "I really liked it!" she said. "It was so funny and I would recommend it to other kids."

Can Judy Moody fans expect a sequel? Says Parris, "I think the next movie should be called the Stink-quel!"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Starting your Child on an Exercise Program

In today’s world, it would seem that more and more people tend to put exercise on the backburner in favor of more fast paced results to our desires. In recent years, there have been a significant number of diet pills claiming the “true” scientific way to lose weight and gain muscle definition. Unfortunately, it would seem that this kind of mentality has been passed on to our kids, and that they are finding less motivation to exercise.

Exercise programs for kids are hugely important. America holds the not so illustrious title of the fattest nation in the world and this moment, our kids are poised to inherit that title. That is something that all parents would not find as a particularly comforting thought.

For those of you not yet convinced that an exercise program for your kids isn’t a priority: The American Obesity Association states the single largest factor in childhood obesity is lack of physical activity and excessive sedentary behavior—that is to say, watching too much TV and playing too many video games.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Soda Consumption and Teenagers -The Dangers

Teenagers who drink a lot of soda have now been documented As being more prone to bone fractures and osteoporosis than those who do not drink much soda.

A questionnaire was given to 460 girls in the 9th and 10th grades, asking them about their diet and exercise habits, along with any History of fractures. The study’s results showed that girls who drank soft drinks were more than THREE TIMES MORE LIKELY to have a bone fracture. And physically active girls who drank Cola were nearly FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY to have had a bone fracture.

Studies have linked mineral loss before to Cola consumption, but finally someone thought to check out teenager’s consumption and how it might affect them.

Between 40% to 60% of peak bone mass is built during the teenage years. Consumption of soft drinks affects both boys and girls. The acidic nature of the phosphoric acid in the drink causes the body to pull calcium out of the bones to buffer the acid.

Many teenagers are very active in sports. Note how much more likely drinkers of the soft drinks were likely to have a bone fracture? Thirty to fifty percent!! Is your teenager in sports and drinking soft drinks? Colas? I offer Nutritional work ups and mineral assays, using hair analysis. Teenagers I see in my practice today, more than ever before, are not eating many fruits and vegetables. These are needed to provide the minerals to build strong bones. To add to this the consumption of soft drinks and these teenagers are setting themselves up for conditions such as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones have become more porous and therefore more fragile and prone to breaking. It is thought to be a problem for older people, however this study shows that teenagers may be the newest group to suffer.

How does your teenager score in soft drink consumption? How does (s)he score in eating plenty of green vegetables? Or other food choices such as yogurt, small amounts of cheese, Beans, Salmon and other things with high calcium/mineral content? And how much water is (s)he drinking? Your teenager may not like water after drinking all the flavored and sugared drinks. However water consumption is vitally important for health and electrical conductivity of the body. As a health practitioner, I suggest one quart of water for every 50 pounds of weight. So if your teenager weighs one hundred pounds, (s)he would need to drink two quarts of water a day. As an added incentive, tell them it will help clear up many bad skin problems.

Educate yourself and your teenager about the use of soft drinks and the consequences. Remember, Prevention is the best measure! Help them to understand the importance of eating their fruits and vegetables and drinking purified water.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Dance Dance Revolution is getting kids off the couch

Dance Dance revolution is the latest dance craze that is a fun and addictive way to lose weight and get into shape.

Are you concerned about the lack of exercise your child is getting? Would you like to see them up and moving instead of sitting around so much?

Dance Dance revolution is the latest dance craze that is a fun and addictive way to help your child get get up and move without realizes they are even exercising.

Our kids health and fitness is more important today than ever before since video games, TV and computers are turning our kids into couch potatoes. This new dance craze called Dance Dance revolution is a video game played on a gaming system but it is not your typical video game. This fun and exciting Dance pad is hooked up to any play station or Xbox then the player chooses one of their favorite songs from the DDR video game.

This fast paced game will surely get your child’s heart pumping and their feet moving! The player chooses their song and they move their feet to the pattern of the arrows on the dance pad while keeping the beat to the flashing arrows that are moving side to side and up and down. As your child gets more practice on this engaging game, you will move to higher and higher levels which will progressively turn the game into a fun and challenging workout.

There are many kids today that do not like the typical physical activities that sports provide but once they try Dance Dance Revolution they are usually hooked.

There are many levels from beginner to advanced even the youngest of children can play Dance Dance Revolution. What better way to get your children involved in exercise than by doing something they love. If you have a gaming system such as a Play station or Xbox you can own Dance revolution, just connect the DDR Pad to any of these systems. If you want your kids up off the couch doing something that is good for them while they are having fun I highly recommend DDR. What better gift can you give them? Next time your child asks for a play station or Xbox game buy them the DDR pad and game.

Make sure your child keeps his water bottle close by, he/she is going to need it after this workout.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weight Loss and Dance revolution

Dance Dance Revolution games offer a specific "Workout Mode" in which players can choose a song, and play accordingly using either the normal step routine, or a modified step routine designed to provided a workout. The workout mode also allows players to track their progress, not in the standard step scores, but by calories burned, minutes played, and distance traveled. The game also calculates the equivalent of DDR dancing to common exercise activities, and can keep track of a player’s weight as well.

The built-in workout features have inspired many DDR fans to make playing DDR their primary source of exercise, and some have built entire weight-loss regimens around the game. However, as with all new diet or exercise plans, it is recommended that one discusses the changes with their doctor.

There are many different types of DDR pad you can purchase.; You will need a gaming system such as a Play station or an Xbox and of course the DDR pads and DDR games

So if you are interested in an extremely fun way to get in shape go ahead and give Dance Dance Revolution a try!

Hear what others are saying about DDR:

Natalie, 14, was drawn to the pulsing techno songs, and didn’t realize she had slimmed down until she went clothes shopping.

"I went to go buy pants and the 14s were too big. The more I played, I gradually had to get smaller size pants," said Natalie, who now buys size 8 baggy.

Zachary 13, I did not even realize that I was exercising until my mom said something to me one day about losing weight. I realized that Dance revolution was not only fun but I was getting a great workout!

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Beach Buddies

Meet the cast of Nickelodeon's new show, from left: Glenn McCuen as Aloe, Tiffany Espensen as Piper, Taylor Gray as Bucket, Dillon Lane as Skinner and Ashley Argota as Kelly.

Hey, surfers! Get ready for Nickelodeon's latest series, Bucket & Skinner's Epic Adventures! The show focuses on two 14-year-old surfers named Bucket and Skinner and their search for the perfect wave, school year and girl—in Bucket's case, at least.)

The series premieres July 1. It is currently in production on a Hollywood set made to look like a typical Southern California beach town. On a recent morning, the set was bustling, even though it was only 9:00 a.m. Cast members were getting their hair and make-up done to be ready for an afternoon camera call.

On the Set

The set was bursting with color—pink, yellow, green, orange, everything tropical. There was a fake beach, and flowers were painted on the walls. By the looks of it, the room felt like it should be 80 degrees, even though the air conditioning was on high. In between tutoring, hair and make-up and blocking practice, where the actors work with the director to figure out their movements and positions for each scene prior to filming, the cast talked about what it's like being on Nickelodeon's newest show.

"It doesn't ever feel like I'm at work here," says Ashley Argota, who plays Kelly, the super-popular surfer girl that Bucket has a crush on. In real life, Argota will be attending New York University in the fall. "I'm with friends all the time, and we're all goofing off and having a great time," Argota says of her castmates.

Tiffany Espensen, who plays Kelly's little sister Piper, agreed. "The hardest part is during a scene when there's a super funny line and you can't laugh," she says.
Kid Reporter

Epic Fun

The two best buddies on the show, Bucket and Skinner, are "really good friends" in real life too, says Taylor Gray, who plays Bucket. "We once spent every day for one month with each other!" In their rare free time, the pair loves to goof off and play pranks on the unsuspecting cast and crew.

"On April Fool's Day, Taylor and I had this idea that we'd put a sign on every door that said, 'Please Do Not Use,' or: 'This Door is Broken,'" recalls Dillon Lane, who plays Skinner. "We worded it really well so that it sounded legit. We had a run-through that day, and everyone was walking around the building trying to find what door to go in," he remembers, laughing.

The cast members "try to hang out as much as possible off set," says Argota. "We go to lunch, sometimes, dinner. We'll play basketball outside. We have a good time. I love our cast."

They also perform special bonding rituals together. "Right before we're going to run out and present ourselves and bow to the [studio] audience, we all put our hands in and say 'Epic!,' on the count of three. It's pretty cool," says Glenn McCuen, who plays Aloe, the surfer who is jealous of Skinner's surfing talent. "It reminds everyone that it's a team effort; it brings us all together so we know we're in it all together and that it's everyone's show."