Monday, September 12, 2011

Entertainment: Play It Again, Sam

Heal The World

Before we proceed with this post, I'd like to take a minute to honor those who lost their lives to terrorism, in both, the Unites States of America and all around the world, during these past many years. This blog post is especially dedicated to the memory of 9/11, a decade later, with a prayer for love, joy and peace above all else. May the God of comfort console the hearts of those who grieve and hold dear the memories of their loved ones, friends and acquaintances.

America, know that we care!




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Entertainment has made a huge impact upon our lives. Music and Movies have taken on a center stage in a lot of our activities, either by leaving us humming that tune all day, or by memorizing scenes from a favorite movie. I'm sure there are many who can connect immediately with "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse", or "I'm hungry mother; I really am".

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Sun Meilan is the Senior Manager for the Entertainment Channel at Helium. To date, she has contributed 665 articles to this channel. Why? Well, lets see what she has to say about it.



"Everybody loves entertainment, whether it is a television series, movie, music or celebrity gossip. For this reason, entertainment will always be a popular subject for writers to choose to write about. As the channel currently stands, there is plenty of focus on the US, and, to a lesser extent, the UK. The reason for this is obvious - the majority of Helium writers come from those two countries. However, I strongly believe that there is plenty of room for more international topics and I enjoy creating titles with this in mind. Many of us have experience of other cultures. For example, I spent a number of years in China and love writing about Chinese films and directors. The fact that they are still relatively unheard of inspires me to keep writing, knowing that I'm introducing a whole new genre to some writers. I also really enjoy writing reviews of retro TV shows for a similar reason. Many of those shows have been relegated to history, yet have contributed to the television that we know today. Of course, it's always good to write on topics that are more contemporary, but variety is the spice of life and recommending a good film to someone who may not have otherwise come across it is something that keeps me writing."



Here are four writers that Sun Meilan thinks deserve some exposure too.








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Happy Birthday Erol Sora.

"From all entertainment, music is my favorite and always has been. Despite moving around a lot, music has been a common denominator tying continents. countries, states and cities together. I also find that people can connect over music, even if they seem to have nothing else in common. What is more, with the Internet one can also connect with musicians themselves, if they so choose.


One of those , and one of my favorite artists, is Erol Sora. I found his music back in 2005, because he used to play in the John Lawton Band, and John Lawton used to be a lead singer for my favorite band, Uriah Heep. Not only is he an amazing artist who wears a lot of hats - composing, arranging, producing in addition to his guitar and vocal skills - but he is also a genuinely warm person who appreciates life. His fans are more to him than just people. You can find him at his website Erol Sora and on Facebook.

I also wrote a review of Sora's second CD: What is Sora's new album?. Perhaps it may inspire you to check out his music. While I support many musicians, I choose Sora for this spotlight because he is among those who do not seek it, in my opinion." Alexandra Heep

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Rex Trulove shares this amazing story of a person close to his heart... and his road to fame from Crater Lake, Oregon.

"When I was young and living at Crater Lake, there was a black family that used to come to visit us. I mention 'black' because it was the 60's, and blacks and whites just didn't mingle. The man, Pete Colley, was a tremendous piano player. He and my mother would take turns playing, and though the other people frown upon us having the family there, those same people would come from far and wide to listen to the heavenly music.

Pete's son, Pedro, quickly became a close friend of mine, to the point that I called him my brother, though his sun tan was far richer than mine. Pedro excelled in sports. He set several Oregon High School records for javelin and shot put. He went on to Oregon State to become an architect.

One day, some college friends talked him into going with them when they tried out for a play. Nobody was trying out for one part, thought, and Pedro loved the play, so he knew it. He agreed to stand in during the try outs, so everyone could at least speak their parts. They were so impressed by his acting and voice control that HE was cast in the role of the stand in part.

People so loved his performance, that he was encouraged to go to Hollywood. He did, and landed parts in a few films and TV shows such as Daniel Boone (He was the original blacksmith, later replaced by his close friend Rosie Grier.)

Don Pedro Colley was in one of the 'Planet of the Apes' movies. Most people know him best, though, for a role he played in the TV series, 'Dukes of Hazard', as Sheriff Little, Boss Hoggs nemesis from the next county.

Now retired from acting, he still does conventions. In real life, he lives in a place his late father built, out in the middle of nowhere. He can be seen there riding his quad runner, and can't be missed... tall, black, and about 300 pounds, most of it still muscle, with a glare that would drain the power out of a tank. Truth is, though, he's a pussy cat and loves people. That is my brother, Don Pedro Colley."

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Now, here is an article that I found fascinating today, and its an article on entertainment and business.

Entertainment and Business????

No, I don't mean entertainment as a business, but rather... 'Lights, Camera, Action! Unconventional Business Lessons From the Movies' I had never thought of movies as a medium for 'business education' or 'business tips'. However, Wendy Finn has so cleverly proved her point by describing the strategies from top ten unconventional characters. If you have never thought of this before, you definitely have to take a look at it. I liked it as soon as I read this page for it made me really think... 'yes, those ARE some business characters!!!!'

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Each of us has our own favorite movie or song or artist for that matter. Entertainment has reached a stage where it can really uplift a person or cause extreme and adversely negative effects. Yesterday, when I was contemplating upon the tragedies of 9/11 and then on 26/11 (India, where Mumbai was under terrorist bombing for many days on 26th November 2008) my heart kept humming this tune, and I have found great peace with this hymn. Many will be able to relate to this .. and for you I add this video; He Never Sleeps.


Image Credits:

Don Pedro Colley : Free Google Images
MJ Heal The World - by KirbyDrawer on DeviantArt




Monday, September 5, 2011

Education: Happy Teacher's Day

Happy Teacher's Day

The next channel up for review is the Education Channel.


Incidentally it coincides with a very important day for an Indian as it is Teacher's Day in India (September 5th). Most countries have their own day, while the UNESCO has declared October 5th to be World Teacher's Day. Being an Indian, I take great pride in honoring my teachers today, past and present who have helped shape the person I am today.

That said, there are two people who top my list of teachers. The first person is my mother, Arlene Mittra. Yes, parents, especially moms, are our first teachers, but she is also a teacher by training. Having taught for approximately twenty two years in schools, she still interacts with children, more so, her grandchildren... playing with them, singing to them, looking after them and also indirectly teaching them so many things a young individual has to learn. When we were kids, she was always there for us... in school and at home. Boring, you might say to have her at home and school; but not in the least. We've had so much fun together. Mom used to make craft project come alive with getting us involved in it. She'd let us do out parts to pitch in with teaching aids and creating props for the dramas and plays. And she was there for us as we entered the different competitions or wrote our exams. As we grew older and moved out to college too, she was our confidant. My sisters and I were in three different batches and we'd contest against each other at the College level competitions. Mom was the one to know who was singing what song, or dancing to a particular tune.... and she was not to let out our secret to the other. I'm sure she must have had a good giggle over all this. For now I'll just say "Happy Teacher's Day, Mom. You've been the best teacher ever."


The next is my late Grandmother Pearl Heldt. She was a teacher for close to fifty years of her life; and an excellent teacher at that. She was one who loved to learn; always learning something new each day. I remember her teaching me Rabindranath Tagore's quote one time, 'Woman is the builder and molder of a nation's destiny. Though soft and frail as a lily, she has a heart far bolder and stronger than a man'. Funny I should still remember it... but that was my Nana teaching me that at one time. For a country like India, where girls in villages are still denied the right of education, Nana Pearl was one who studied as she taught. She held a triple bachelor's degree (acquired at different times) and triple Masters Degrees; many of which were after us grandchildren had passed toddlerhood. One thing I know; I've definitely picked up her talent for pen and paper, always wanting to write. She was a person full of stories and dreams. There was a time when she wanted to publish stories. At times she would let us in on her stories and we'd laugh at the weird names she'd give her characters. One of her story telling talents was to tell ghost stories that haunted one's mind for days. And she loved children. She was always seen with children around her. If not her school kids it was us grandkids. And she made sure we knew that she was mighty proud of us; always surprising us with treats, gifts and rewards. Happy Teacher's Day to you too Nana Pearl. I know you're reading this and smiling. :))) Eternal rest give unto her O Lord.



From our batch of friends, there are quite a few writers who are excellent teachers in their respective fields. The first one that comes to mind is E. J. Young. If you do not know E.J., find her heart as a teacher in her own words... "Her 20 years of experience as a public school teacher in metro and small town classes in the Midwest provide a unique perspective on the strengths in today's classrooms. Based on her personal experience in traditional and alternative settings, current research, methodology and educational background, she believes changes in the educational system are needed. To that end, she writes white papers, reviews strategies and methods, examines new programs and writes other articles related to education focused on improving the learning environment for all students."


Education doesn't just mean rote learning or being taught word for word on scholastic curriculum. It also involves the sharing of life's experiences for others to learn from. Take for example E.J's story Amy's Angel. It is a story of a mom's pain arising from a suffering child. Here is a lesson to be understood and valued. Her story, Amy's Angel, is an entry for a Writing Contest and I urge you to take a look at it and vote in favor of our dear E. J. Young.

The next person on my list of our writer-teachers is R. Renee Bembry.

She says, "Although a little embarrassed for winding up in newspapers across several states for participating in a literacy program in which I, still a grade-schooler myself, helped younger children learn to read, I always prided myself for my ability to reach younger children. Joy in teaching children likely deserves credit for all the parent-teacher conferences I attended over the years wherein the teachers told me my kids were very well-rounded; and for a good part of the conference time we discussed other things because it isn't always easy to find helpful critiques to suggest for children who are already rapidly excelling.

All this might sound a bit like horn-tooting, however, I believe that all children can do great in school when they have someone helping and supporting them along the way. For this reason, I like repeating versions of this story whenever I have a chance to share it with others.

I believe that instilling in their brains, practically from birth, that educating themselves is the most important thing children could ever do in their lives, is the best way to encourage them to shine like stars in the night.

Once my last child entered middle school, the older ones thought I should back off, and try becoming less attending unless my daughter asked for help. Although agreeing with this strategy, I knew it would be difficult because I had been 'home-schooling' kids for so many years. Fortunately, after volunteering to give a poetry-writing presentation to a fifth grade class, a teacher suggested I turn the program into a business and so I did.

I have given several classroom presentations and tutored children privately since starting my children's poetry program, which is not only about writing, but also about using poetry to improve reading, writing, and comprehension skills.

Find an overview of my program at MyStoriesAndPoems.com; have a peek at my free e-book about sharing by following this link Children's Stories - Sharing Lesson, and find a list of educational articles I have written at Helium.com R. Renée Articles. Also, find my smart babies zone that incorporates my methods for teaching babies to become educationally successful here How to raise a smart baby to become a successful student and my first ever kids' poetry website here FunnyPoemsForKids.com.


The last of of my writer-teacher picks is none other than home-schooler Ann Hinds. Here's what Ann shares. "Our grandson is 10-years old. Most of my travel is currently to the baseball field. This year we have decided to home-school and I will miss the volunteering in the classroom. Working with children who need extra attention is so much fun. When you help them grasp a concept that has eluded them, their joy is contagious. There is never a lack of writing material. No longer dealing with school volunteering, fund-raising and bullying, there are new topics to learn and research. Each situation provides more topics and insights."

How to keep kids busy with salt dough art is an example of Ann's knack for teaching kids the potential of crafts.

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There are a lot of writing material that stresses on the importance of learning. Take for example Angela S. Young's article How to prepare your child for the first day of school. In this article, she takes the reader through many practical steps that are vital for the preparedness of the child. Many times as parents we do not understand the pressures that children are under, the images of danger that might be haunting their minds or the anxiety that we pass onto them when admitting them to their very first school. A very good write; this article is a must for every parent who has a toddler entering school.

Talk about chaos in the classroom. Student behavior in the classroom these days seem to be getting from bad to worse, with violence on the rise and weapons in kids' pockets. Dealing with student behavior challenges in the classroom can be quite a task for a teacher; and this guide takes the teacher through some basic challenges and how to deal with them. Although its simple and common knowledge, not many teachers grasp the value of remembering children's names. Remembering a child's name can bring about tremendous improvement in behavior and also creates a bond between the teacher and student.

Many times teachers can be earnest in their attempts to teach children how to read and write. Or they may be impatient or unconcerned. I remember, when my daughter was in the second grade, she disliked her class teacher totally. She used to sulk a lot about her teacher and always quote the different negative comments the teacher would say about her reading and spelling. Even when it was time for her to be promoted to the next class, she'd say things like "You are not fit to go to the next class. You are so bad in your reading and spelling that you will be detained and called Aunty Ruth by the next class children that join you." Perhaps she should have been trained on how to be an effective reading support teacher, to help my daughter instead of criticizing her the whole year. Ironically, Ruth used to write stories online when she was at home. Talk about being slow in spellings. Even then she achieved what her classmates had not yet ventured out into.

Most dedicated teachers will stress on the need for discipline in the classroom. Without disciple, all teaching is in vain. Either the student will not grasp anything that is taught, or the teaching methods too of the teacher will be a confusion. Disciple is a method of building character, confidence and the wholeness of a young individual, which begins with the discipline of the teacher. Olivia Kay takes us through her ideas of classroom discipline with her article 'How to instill positive discipline and effective classroom rules". Every teacher can benefit from being reminded of these simple yet effective steps to building classroom discipline.

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Other education-related articles that are worth reading:






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Once again, to teachers in India and all over the world - A Happy Teacher's Day to you!

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Amanda Dcosta - Writer, Helium.com