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Archive for April 3rd, 2009

 popcornby Michael S. Goldberger, film critic  

As celebrated in “Monsters vs. Aliens,” one great thing about cartoons is that instead of dying a gruesome death when hit by a meteor you turn into a fifty-foot superhero. It’s in the DNA of animated characters. Susan, who becomes the heroine Ginormica, surely owes her very being to the eons of dropped anvils the Road Runner and his ilk survived.  

Tyler and Brittney, who doubtless couldn’t care less about the Darwinian implications of this PG-rated space invasion, should find it amusing, if they’re between six and nine and not terribly jaded. Parents, on the other hand, might find solace in analyzing what the filmmakers who profit by tomorrow’s citizens feel is their educational obligation.  

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The downturn in the economy has taken a toll on everyone, but senior citizens are often hardest hit by a recession. That’s because they generally live on a fixed income, including the earnings on retirement plan investments that may have declined sharply in value due to drops in stock prices and interest rates. The New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJSCPA) provides the following advice on how to help your parents or other aging relatives weather a recession:

Anticipate the Need

The first step is simply to be aware of the possible effects that the economy has had on an older person’s finances. You may already know that their retirement savings could have been hurt by market plunges, but other consequences may not be quite as clear. If your parent owns a home, for example, it may have fallen in value due to drops in real estate prices. That could make it harder to take a home equity loan when needed or could limit the benefits of a reverse mortgage. If your parent was hoping to downsize or move into an assisted living facility, those plans may have to be put on hold if the home can’t be sold due to the soft real estate market.

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Spring Forward To Safe Sports

MADISON, Wis.—Think spring: the thud of a soccer ball, the crack of the bat, the shot of a pistol for the 40-yard dash. 

But if your high–school athlete doesn’t prepare properly, you also may be pondering pulled muscles, torn ligaments, and other injuries that can sideline young athletes for days, weeks or even months.

Soccer is responsible for the greatest number of injuries to high-school players; most of them to the legs and knees. Marc Sherry, physical therapist at the UW Health Sports Medicine Clinic, says the most serious soccer injury is a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), caused by the player making frequent stops and starts on the playing field, and turning and pivoting on the leg. 

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