Pass on the kindness with #wrapitupred

No matter where you live – pass on the kindness. I helped make this commercial with the film crew in Canada over Thanksgiving.

 

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Shopping for Less Can mean More

The best gifts cannot be bought. Image courtesy of One Love for Chi.

The best gifts cannot be bought. Image courtesy of One Love for Chi.

During the holiday season, as you hustle through stores to find that perfect gift, perhaps you should take a moment to look at your list again and remember what Christmas is all about.

Communicating

Instead of buying those video games and other electronic goodies, how about buying a board game that compels your loved ones to interact with other humans? The Walking Dead (rated #1 show), is a big favorite for many. The trivia game for the show is available several places for under $10, but their human interactions while they’ll be playing is priceless.

Human interaction is key to empathy and doctors are suggesting that families learn to “unplug” for such health benefits as lowering blood pressures. With the rise of electronic device use, the National Institute of Technology has statistical data suggesting the importance of unplugging and separating work interactions and home.

Giving the Gift that Makes Memories

If a trivia game isn’t your family or friend’s forte, how about other things that feed their soul? Five Below offers meditation mats, arts and crafts kits (besides the gazillion other neat hobby items that help a creative mind thrive – all under $5.

You Don’t Have to Go Broke

Meaningful items don’t have to cost a lot. Care baskets made up of your loved one’s favorite baked treats, homemade liqueurs, or other supplies can keep your budget in check.

If you’re stumped for ideas, simple check out Pinterest, or look up “gifts to make” in a search engine. Because it is not how much you spend – but how much love and consideration went into your gift. Happy Holidays!

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10 Scary Movies that Changed us Forever

Image screenshot of the movie Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock

Screenshot from the 1960’s movie Psycho, by Alfred Hitchcock.

With over 45 years of scary movies under my belt, I can honestly say there have been a few that have forever changed the way I interact with the world today.

With Halloween only a few weeks away, I thought I’d give my readers an opportunity to hunt down some of the most psychologically damaging movies that occurred in my life.

To see what effect those thousands of movies have done to my creativity, check out my sister site: Frugal Frights and Delights.

The countdown is created with the least damaging at number 10, to the most damaging to the psyche at number one.

Number 10: Village of the Damned(1960)

Think about government cover-ups, genetic testing, and tainted water from industrial accidents. Add in overzealous fertility and this movie doesn’t seem too far fetched. The children’s glowing eyes and calm yet destructive nature are enough to freak anyone out -especially when we see blond twins, triplets, and so on.

Number 9: The Last House on the Left(1972)

As teens we have all innocently told our parents we were heading to the movies(or concert) and went somewhere else. Never did we learn our lesson better when watching this. As parents, we can relate to the nightmare the parents in the story endured. To make matters worse, it mentioned how the movie was based on a true-life experience.

Number 8: Halloween

It was bad enough when parents would warn us about the dangers of eating candy before they checked it. After seeing this one, you’ll never quite feel safe trick or treating again – especially while walking past bushes. You’ll always be looking for what lurks in the shadows.

Number 7: Child’s Play

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Disconnected When Connected: The Trending Lack of Empathy

Taking time to communicate face to face will help people empathize. Image courtesy of Stanford D. School at FlickrCC.

Taking time to communicate face to face will help people empathize. Image courtesy of Stanford D. School at FlickrCC.

Many of us in our younger years would laugh when we heard an ” old-timer” say: In my day, people cared about each other and we had each other’s back. When we needed  a cup of sugar, we could just run over to the neighbors and borrow one.

Today, most of us wouldn’t even think about running next door to our neighbor to borrow an egg or a cup of sugar – we’d run to the store instead. Why? It’s probably because there are so many people who do not wish to know their neighbor, let alone offer any goodwill toward them.

According to a  2010 study published in the Scientific American, empathy levels between college students have declined over the past thirty years and the last ten years had shown the greatest decline.

Desensitization

Some would say it is the “hardening” of society that has perpetuated the lack of empathy. Movie ratings that were once rated X (for example The Midnight Cowboy) are now being re-rated at a lower acceptable rating.

This is called Ratings Creep and according to a Harvard School of Public Health study, it is an actual real occurrence and not just a perception.

The Digital Age

Some people would suggest people are communicating less in person and more with digital devices – leaving everyone disconnected when connected. It has become commonplace for people to look at their cellphones more than each other at the dinner table. Texting has become an easier solution instead of confronting the harder subjects face to face.

We can not empathize with a text message that does not have the nuances of body language. We can not hope to feel anything holding a cold piece of hardware, instead of giving a person a hug.

Where Are We Heading?

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Tracking Devices and the Law

Are you being track right now? Image courtesy of Lars Kristian Flem on Flickrcc.

Are you being track right now? Image courtesy of Lars Kristian Flem on Flickrcc.

Over the course of several years, there have been a plethora of stories about the U.S. government taking allowances to track people in various ways. They use license plate tagging, email archiving, and more. The government can have this freedom because of a few reasons – including The Patriot Act.

A More Concerning Point

Even the government has a certain accountability for their tracking and local/state police officials have to get a warrant in order to electronically track a citizen’s movements. Yet, were you aware there are no laws in place that protect a citizen from tracking another citizen on their own? Continue reading

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Not the Easiest Path to Reach: New York’s New Medical Marijuana Law

Multiple regulations need to be written and instated before NY's medical marijuana program can proceed. Images of lady justice courtesy of Vectorstock.com and the leaf is courtesy of Jon Richfield of Wikimedia Commons.

Multiple regulations need to be written and instated before NY’s medical marijuana program can proceed. Images of lady justice courtesy of Vectorstock.com and the leaf is courtesy of Jon Richfield of Wikimedia Commons.

Although the recently passed law of medical marijuana in NY may have brought a rise of applause or debate, the pathway toward actual usage appears to be farther off than one might expect.

A Quick Run-Down of What Needs to Occur First:

  • The program can not begin until the superintendent of the state police and the health commissioner can assure the system can be administered consistent with public health and safety.
  • A regulatory commission set up by the governor will regulate the price – not the manufacturers or distributors.
  • Doctors and practitioners will be required to first attend a  2-4 hour course as predetermined by the commission on the regulation before having the ability to recommend a certification of a participant.
  • Certification cards will need to be issued – including a photo of the applicant/caregiver.
  • The commissioner must approve the distributors and the testing labs to allow for accurate product.
  • The commissioner must develop and approve an informational insert(such as those given for other prescriptions).
  • Only a handful of registered organizations will be allowed the main registration certifications and those companies may have subsidiaries that can distribute and so forth.

Other Stipulations Within Law:

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Equal Rights for Pets on the Horizon

Image courtesy of Fort Carson, with Sgt. Jeff Harness in pool.https://www.flickr.com/photos/fortcarson/9733987837/

Image courtesy of Fort Carson, with Sgt. Jeff Harness in pool. https://www.flickr.com/photos/fortcarson/9733987837/

As a pet owner, it’s a daunting task to take your best friend on a trip. The rising costs/fees associated with flying as a human passenger have significantly hindered many people from flying, let alone bringing Fido or Fluffy along and train travel was not an option.Yet, hope is on the horizon.

The Pets on Trains Act of 2013 – if passed, will allow safe travel for dogs and cats on trains, which will create a few things:

  • An economic boost for train companies(such as Amtrak), who have been struggling for several years.
  • It will allow owners the health benefits associated with keeping their pets with them.
  • Pet owners will save significant money by not having to pay for kennel or pet care fees.
  • It will prevent separation anxiety for both pet and owner.

Pilot Program to Begin

Although the Pets on Train Act will still be working its way through congress, the Transportation Department of Illinois has agreed to allow a pilot program to begin next week allowing train travel with pets ( dogs and cats) between Chicago and Quincy, Illinois. With a reasonable fee of $25 per pet, it will hopefully entice owners to hop on a train more often.

Tax Deductions for Pets

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