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How to get into a positive mindset to move with the COVID times – San Antonio Express-News

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This is a challenging moment. The way we see each other, the way we work even the way we grocery shop has been shaken up.

The pandemic hasnt only threatened obvious aspects of our lives, its had an uncanny way of bringing other problems to light, too.

Frustration, resentment and helplessness are common threads. If you feel that gloomy things often happen to you, youre not alone. Success coach Albina Rippy has a few tips that may help.

Rippy and her husband, Roger, started YogaOne, a small one-room yoga studio in Midtown, in 2008 and grew to seven locations before selling to YogaWorks in 2017. Now, Rippy leads yoga training virtually and at beautiful international destinations; runs a coaching business; and operates their retreat center in Taos, N.M. Shes a mom, too. Main Plaza vigil honors those who died of COVID-19

But none of this came without obstacles and doubt. Rippy grew up in the Soviet Union, amid its collapse. As a child, I waited in bread lines, she said in an interview with Voyage Houston. I witnessed how my familys savings became worthless because the government changed its currency, literally, overnight. I witnessed fear, desperation and hopelessness firsthand.

At 16 years old, Rippy left Kazakhstan, alone, barely speaking English, to go to school in the U.S.

She knows a thing or two about handling a challenge.

She says when seemingly unfixable circumstances yield chronic blues, its important to take a deeper look. The root of the problem isnt typically what it seems.

We blame the economy, the pandemic, our soul-crushing jobs, a mean boss, all men, all women, our upbringing, and so on, for our lack of happiness and wealth, she says.

To Rippy, this kind of finger-pointing uses a lot of energy and ultimately leaves us tired, bitter and blind to opportunities for better outcomes. A wiser approach is to turn a gentle gaze within.

Say, for example, you hate your boss and blame this person for why you didnt get a promotion. Its an understandable situation, but according to Rippy, dwelling on the other person represents a victims mindset. When we see the world from this perspective, we cement a limited view that lacks self-awareness and is incompatible with growth and possibilities.

You cannot even consider that your boss might sense your resentment and dislike, or that your mindset is causing you to have a negative attitude at work, or that on a subconscious level you are sabotaging (your own cause), Rippy says.

She adds: The moment you see this clearly, you get access to choice. You can choose to forgive your boss and yourself and let go of your grudge and resentment. You can genuinely choose positivity and love. Your choice alone will elevate your inner vibration and influence the way you see the world.

Perhaps, you will start seeing that your boss is actually trying to connect with you. Or that your bosss own challenges (a sick child or parent, difficulties in their marriage, their financial struggles, etc.) influence their inner state and that it has never been about you.

Rippy says when we take responsibility for our experiences, we uncover a magnitude of possibilities, opportunities and choices right under our noses.

Maybe softening your view of your boss paves the way for a surprising bond that leads to an even better opportunity. Maybe when youre less consumed by this persons shortcomings, your creativity surges and you take on new and deeply fulfilling projects, or start a kick butt side hustle. Maybe you just realize a vacation would serve you well. The possibilities are vast.

But heres an important qualifier: Shame is not a part of the game.

Rippy urges us not to start presuming everything imperfect is our fault. On the other hand, she says this about shifting into a next-level mindset where instead of challenges being cause for blame on anyone, theyre invitations to dig deep and find new potential.

Through challenges and trials, you grow and expand, you become strong, unstoppable, unshakable, unbreakable. This perspective gives you access to choice, power, innovation, resilience, love.

Here are a few of other strategies she suggests for moving through ups and downs:

When we dwell in the victim mindset, we are filled with resentment, grudges and blame. This is a heavy burden to carry. Furthermore, these difficult emotions take up too much of our energetic bandwidth, blocking the flow of goodness in our lives. If you want to create the life you yearn for you must let go of your resentments and free yourself. I teach an ancient Hawaiian prayer called HoOponopono (where you repeat the phrases): I love you. I am sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.

Her favorite: Every day and in every way, I am strong, healthy, young, beautiful, charismatic, creative, resilient, kind, loving, generous, compassionate, infinitely loved, abundantly blessed and divinely guided.

I say this over and over again, as I run or work out, using all of my physiology and lots of passion, she says.

We all are very clear on what we dont want. I dont want to get sick or I dont want to lose my job or I dont want to end up alone. We have a much more challenging time identifying what we truly want. When we consciously direct our minds to focus on what we do want, our brains start filtering bringing to our attention situations, people, opportunities that will get us to where we want to go.

To Rippy, looking within and doing this work is a pathway out of the pits and to much brighter pastures.

Marci Izard Sharif is an author, yoga teacher, meditation facilitator and mother. In Feeling Matters, she writes about self-love, sharing self-care tools, stories and resources that center around knowing and being kind to yourself.

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How to get into a positive mindset to move with the COVID times - San Antonio Express-News

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August 15th, 2020 at 4:50 pm

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Re-centering the Conversation | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer –

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As a theologically conservative Asian-American, I must admit that reading White Fragility felt a little like listening to someone elses family meeting. This should not be surprising since Robin DiAngelo is clear that her intended audience is white progressives like herself.[i] One of the first-round reviewers, Allison Ash, points this out in her article, but also believes DiAngelos book can apply to white conservatives and Christians alike. And while not explicitly written this way, George Yanceys full review is an important outsiders perspective as an African-American and as a social scientist.

It is this outsiders perspective that I specifically want to address.

There is no monolithic non-white perspective on the ideas described in White Fragility but it is important to acknowledge they exist. To put it plainly, non-whites are watching whites have this conversation amongst themselves. From my perspective, some of it is hit or miss as pointed out by many of the first-round reviewers. For a long time, whether progressive, conservative, racist, or an ally, whites have managed much of the narrative for how race is framed and talked about in America. And whether non-whites find DiAngelos ideas helpful or harmful or a combination of both, the outsider dynamic to this conversation increasingly matters as we consider that the percentage of the white population in America continues to shrink and the complexity of racial categories continues to grow.

My aim here is to frame a perspective of how I see this conversation developing, first through the eyes of a minority in America and second as a missiologist concerned with how this fits into Christian mission.

The Process of Becoming a Minority in America

W.E.B. DuBois penned these powerful words describing the African-American experience as he saw it in the late 19th century:

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at ones self through the eyes of others, of measuring ones soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his twonessan American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.[ii]

As articulated by DuBois, the African-American double-consciousness is a very nuanced phenomenon painstakingly developed through historical experience and generations of struggle. DuBois offers something that many African-Americans have found helpful and insightful in their American experience. It is unique to African-Americans and should not and cannot be appropriated onto other racial groups in America.

Related but tangential to DuBois, the process of discovering what it means to be a minority in America is fraught with non-stop subconscious self-examination, false ascriptions, and overt animosity. As a minority, there is an ongoing frustration in wanting to express your thoughts and ideas only to find the race conversation make its way back to centering the dominant group experience, framed primarily to enlighten them rather than to truly advance the conversation. The day to day work of a minority in America is to see yourself the way white Americans see you in order to articulate your point in a way that makes sense to them. While this is a necessary skill in a diverse and pluralistic society, the mental, spiritual, and physical work of managing this consciousness causes fatigue.

But whites are getting fatigued, too.

Maybe not the way African-Americans and other minorities get fatigued. But the point of this book is that more now than ever, some whites are resistant and tired of having to see themselves through the eyes of other groups in order to better articulate their points in a way that makes sense to others. It is tiring to have to always consider what another group has to say before you decide on something!

But this has been the modus operandi for minorities in America. And now whites are feeling it more and more.

White Fragility is a tell-tale sign of how some whites are learning to deal with the increasing diversity, which is happening faster than anyones expected. Like other groups, whites are developing a secondary consciousness about themselves that a generation ago did not existat least not on a wide scale. This consciousness is very different from the African-American double-consciousness and the self-awareness I feel as an Asian-American. But it is related in that almost daily, an increasing number of whites are having to see themselves through the eyes of others.

But I want to offer a very real warning here: we cannot confuse white self-awareness and secondary consciousness as advancing the plight of minorities in America, particularly African-Americans and indigenous peoples. DiAngelos last chapter entitled, Where Do We Go From Here? offers whites, who are engaging in these conversations, tips for how to deal with white fragility. However, it does not go far enough to teach whites how to reframe and recenter the conversation around the minority experience.

So as an outsider looking in, the concepts developed by DiAngelo, along with the contributions in this symposium, are helpful insofar as they serve the greater purpose of resolving racial tension in America by focusing on the plight of actual minority groups.

Observing White Fragility as a Missiologist

Reading DiAngelo offers some insight into how some white progressives understand themselves, the structure of society, human depravity, and the way towards human flourishing. As a missiologist, I have a paradoxical view of DiAngelo and her audience. To me, they simultaneously represent a prophetic voice to conservative evangelicals while at the same time remain one of the most difficult population segments in America to reach with the gospel. One telling paragraph is this one:

To understand how white people become so difficult in conversations about race, we need to understand the underlying foundation of white fragility: how being white shapes our perspectives, experiences, and responses.[iii]

I read DiAngelos ideas about whiteness throughout her book and think two things: 1) I hope evangelicals consider some of her analysis and interpretation of white fragility even though they might disagree with her worldview, and 2) if what DiAngelo writes is even partially true for how some whites think about themselves, then we need to truly pray that the gospel can deliver them and (all of us) from whiteness.

While I agree with DiAngelo that for whites, whiteness as a social construction has almost become a lot in lifeor at least tends to be the social script they live bythe beauty of the gospel is that the idol of whiteness can be defeated. If there is anything oppressive about whiteness, it will be overcome. If there is anything redeemable about whiteness, it will come to light. If whiteness is simply a false idea, it will be replaced by a more authentic identity in Christ.

In White Fragility, DiAngelo is in a way showing evangelicalswhites and non-whiteshow some white progressives are in need of the gospel. But do we have ears to hear? As a non-white evangelical, I am trying to listen. Many of the other reviewers participating in this symposium are listening, too. And if so, our response should not be argumentative and condescending. We should humbly discern how God might have us learn from DiAngelo and others like her to improve our obedience to his mission as the church. Moreover, we should seek to understand them better and to be understood better by them. Like with any other group, it is likely that an authentic relationship with transparent communication is the only way we can help DiAngelos audience see the gospel as the ultimate solution to racism and white fragility.

[i] DiAngelo, Robin J. 2018. White Fragility: Why Its so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism. Boston: Beacon Press, p. 4.

[ii] Du Bois, W.E.B. 2017. The Souls of Black Folk (AmazonClassics Edition). Kindle. AmazonClassics, p.3-4.

[iii] DiAngelo, p. 51.

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Re-centering the Conversation | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer -

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Passionpreneur Publishing announces the global release of Peace In – Guru Observer

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The inspiring book by Bassem Terkawi is now available via major players in the global book distribution field

(GuruObserver Editorial):- Dubai, Aug 15, 2020 ( Publishing has announced the release of Peace In The 5 Laws of Peaceful Living by Bassem Terkawi via the publishing industrys largest global book distribution networks. The book is anticipated to have an inspiring and profound effect on its target audience.

In this must-read book, Bassem Terkawi shares invaluable insights, tools, and techniques on inner peace. According to Bassem, inner peace is your birthright but somewhere along the journey, you lost it. Do you dare to find it back?

Bassem Terkawi commented: Imagine how life would be like if you and everyone in this world is at peace with themselvesno less than heaven, right?

Through its five-stage formula, Peace In guides you on your quest for inner peace. You will begin to understand your journey and learn to slowly move from a constant war-torn state of mind to a relaxed, peaceful one.

The book is now available to inspire readers across the globe through the IngramSpark distribution network and other affiliates which will cover the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. The e-book is available in 25+ online bookstores like Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Nobles and Apple Books in the Middle East.

About The Author:

Bassem Terkawi (CPCC-MCC) is a leadership professional coach, and a faculty at the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) in California, USA.

After graduating with a degree in Law in 1996, Bassem worked in the fields of strategic communications. Throughout his career, he has been passionate about corporate lifestyle and the prospects culminating from the opportunities and challenges he experienced.He follows his own spiritual path and feels responsible for raising self-awareness in himself and others.

About Passionpreneur Publishing:

An indie publisher, Passionpreneur Publishing successfully helps entrepreneurs and professional experts become International Authors in as little as 90 days.

Passionpreneur Publishing specialises in transformational books including business, self-help, personal growth and spiritual titles in order to help authors share their messages and gain credibility in their chosen fields.

Passionpreneur Publishing boasts an all-star board of advisors from across the globe covering a wide spectrum of expertise around the books, publishing and media industry to ensure the application of global best-practice in every service offered and providing a worldwide network of some of the worlds top thought leaders.

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Passionpreneur Publishing announces the global release of Peace In - Guru Observer

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Its Time For Lawyers To Smell The Roses – Above the Law

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One of the tougher challenges of legal practice is to achieve the momentary ability to step back and assess the toll it takes can take on our daily lives and adjust accordingly when damage is being done. I cant think of any better way to state it than Dan Canon has, finding the self-awareness to stop and smell the roses.

At age 42, and beginning a new career, Im pleased to report Ive hit a milestone: Im starting to be able to enjoy things. I can toss a ball around with my kids. I can watch a movie. I can read a book without checking my email after every paragraph. I can do all this without the venial sin of sloth chewing on the leaves of my recovering lawyers brain. I dont mean to brag, but it took a lot of work to get here.

A few years ago, at the apex of my hyperemployment, I realized I was miserable. I didnt socialize with my best friends. I never saw my kids. I drank a lot and slept wherever I landed. I took it for granted that Id be dead before 50. So, with some considerable difficulty, I retreated into the strange world of academia. The work is still demanding, but not lethally so.

Its funny that a law school should be a place of refuge. After all, its where I learned a lot of my worst work habits. Fifteen years ago, universities were still squealing with delight at students who would forsake all else for the law. Replace Octavia Butler and Stephen King with Learned Hand and Erwin Chemerinsky, eschew Mario Kart for civil procedure flash cards, trade that old marriage in for a laptop and some monogram cufflinks thats how you kept the academy happy. So starting in my first year of law school, I dutifully siphoned the extraneous, enjoyable stuff off the top of my head, leaving only room for a list of case names and pentasyllabic argle-bargle.

As a result, I did pretty well in school, but the fundamentals of my humanity were in a catatonic state. I turned into a machine obsessed with work, incapable of sparing a moment for recreational reading, binge watching, or even modest self-reflection. Fires were stoked in my head every time I tried to do something that wasnt working on cases. A decade later, my smoldering brain was stuck in achievement mode, with no neurons left to smell the roses I spent years cultivating.

I asked Dr. Stephanie Hall, a psychiatrist and expert witness on mental health issues, if what I was experiencing was out of the ordinary. Not at all, she said. Americans have placed their identity in what they produce. I blame capitalism. If youre not making or doing something to feed the machine, you feel empty and nervous, because thats what you have internalized as what youre supposed to do to be a worthwhile human.

Sounds about right, but my efforts to abolish capitalism from inside the courthouse have been unsuccessful (so far). How do we fix ourselves? Theres a whole body of ideas and practice in mental health right now around mindfulness, which has a central idea that just being is worthwhile, said Hall. So meditation is the answer, right? I tell her my persistent attempts and failures at starting a meditation practice over the years havent gone so well. She sets me straight.

Mindfulness practice can take the form of meditation, but many people who have difficulty setting aside time to meditate can also practice being mindful while they do other activities. Like writing, for example. A place to start can be allowing yourself to pay attention to your thoughts without judging their worthiness.Or just paying attention to the sensory details of an activity like washing dishes, so you dont let your random, anxious thoughts run away with you.

I asked Professor Laura Rothstein, who teaches disability law and writes extensively on the topic of mental health in the profession, how we can best encourage students and new lawyers to develop healthy work habits. I tell them to channel Louis Brandeis. He made sure to stop work at 5:00 p.m., take time to relax and refresh, and he took vacations. His famous quote is I soon learned that I could do twelve months work in eleven months but not in twelve.

Rothstein prescribes a variety of mindfulness practices to her students, too. Ive had many students tell me that my weekly reminders to take time (even 15 minutes a day or a couple of hours on a weekend) has been helpful to refreshing their mind and body.This is even more important in COVID-19 times.Although we have a lot of time on our hands now, making sure to take time to be mindful and self-aware is essential.

A sympathetic ear on campus can make a difference, Rothstein said. I always tell students to reach out and ask for help from a faculty member, an administrator, someone, if they are concerned about something. Its awful to feel trapped. Knowing that someone might be able to help, to listen, or to steer you to help can go a long way to keeping one from feeling like there is no way out.

I got lucky. I was able to take a step back and give myself the advice I now pass along to students: Youre getting a law license to make your life better, and you havent done that if you end up a labor droid, an alcoholic, or a corpse. To their credit, law schools and bar associations are doing better than ever at promoting mental health much better than they were when I was a student. But we still have a long way to go. Dumb luck, pithy advice, and websites full of substance-abuse resources arent going to be enough to help lawyers who get it in their heads that work should eclipse all other priorities. Most litigators who wander into the thick forest of their careers dont even recognize theyre lost. Its on all of us teachers, practitioners, and colleagues to show them the way.

Brian Cuban(@bcuban)isThe Addicted Lawyer. Brian is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Addicted Lawyer: Tales Of The Bar, Booze, Blow & Redemption (affiliate link). A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he somehow made it through as an alcoholic then added cocaine to his rsum as a practicing attorney. He went into recovery April 8, 2007. He left the practice of law and now writes and speaks on recovery topics, not only for the legal profession, but on recovery in general. He can be reached

Dan Canon

Dan Canon is a civil rights lawyer and a Professor of Law at the University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law. Most notably, he served as lead counsel for the Kentucky plaintiffs in the case ofObergefell v. Hodges, which established marriage equality in all 50 states.He writes on civil and criminal justice issues for a variety of regional and national publications. PLEADING OUT, his book on plea bargaining reform, is scheduled to be published in early 2021. His short documentary series on activists in the Midwest can be viewed at He lives a noisy-but-great life in Indiana with his wife and three daughters.

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Its Time For Lawyers To Smell The Roses - Above the Law

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Future Apple AirPods could be able to recognize the dangers – Inceptive Mind

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Just recently, Apple filed a number of new patents for its wireless earbuds. These include various technologies, functions, and new types of hardware. And now, these AirPods could also contribute to the safety of users.

One of the new patents describes a contextual audio system that would make AirPods a whole lot more self-aware. It could enable future AirPods to determine a users location or current activity and automatically adjust their audio accordingly.

If a person is standing on the side of the road with headphones in, riding a bicycle or walking on a busy street, the system might automatically adjust the audio settings to give you better awareness, either by lowering the volume or, if necessary, completely cutting off playback. According to Business insider, it may adjust the volume of audio on whatever ear is closer to the street, while leaving the other ears volume unchanged in this scenario. This would enable users to better perceive traffic and possibly avoid accidents. The system will also take into account whether the user is facing the street at all.

The new Apple AirPods should also provide feedback, directional instructions, safety information, and more. GPS data from smartphones or smartwatches, as well as the position data from the earphones, are used with the aim of providing users with greater security. Cyclists could also be protected in the future with the help of recorded speed data. If they exceed a certain speed limit, the music would be stopped.

The patent document does not particularly mention that this feature will be added to AirPods, but it does refer to a wearable audio device, suggesting that Apple has its wireless earbuds in mind for this feature.

The only open question is whether these functions will ever be installed. As usual, Apple files many patents all throughout the year, and a large proportion of them never come to fruition for commercial release.

Rumors about the AirPods 3 have been around for a long time. It is unclear when they will be launched. It also remains to be seen whether the new security features will already be integrated. In any case, a patent is no guarantee of actual market launch.

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Future Apple AirPods could be able to recognize the dangers - Inceptive Mind

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10 Things To Watch If You Like The Cabin In The Woods – Screen Rant

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Cabin In The Woods was a perfect example of satirical horror done right, and here are 10 similar films for viewers hungry for more.

The Cabin In The Woodsis a criminally underrated masterpiece of modern horror. In his directorial debut, Drew Goddard managed to create a film that merged moments of brilliant comedy, with an underpinning layer of satireleveled against the entire film/horror industry. At the same time, he kept things truly terrifying and delivered a twist that will go down in history.

RELATED: 5 Great Horror Movie Endings (& 5 That Are Just Awful)

It'd be difficultand probably misguidedto make a sequel toThe Cabin In The Woods, so we've put together a list of films that should tide over fans who have been looking for something similar to watch since 2012.

Evil Dead IIis a double-whammy in its connectionThe Cabin In The Woods.On the surface, it is similar satire where the central characters spend their time secluded in a forest full of creepy goings-on. It also brings a distinct tone of humor and over-the-top melodrama to proceedings, allowing parody and satire to mix into a well-crafted script that remains, on occasion, genuinely scary.

Funny Gamesisn't a particularly well-known film, but it absolutely delivers on creepiness and self-awareness. The general plot follows a family who are tortured by a duo of Clockwork Orange-esque maniacs. It's an intense journey, but moments of fourth-wall-breakingat one point, Ann manages to kill Peter, before Paul simply picks up the TV remote and 'rewinds' the real-life eventsand satire connect it beautifully toThe Cabin In The Woods.

Get Outwas Jordan Peele's chance to impress with directorial talent that he had yet to show off. He proved his point. The 2017 horror was as hilarious as it was terrifying and managed to make an important political point without it overshadowing the great story at the heart of the film. It's a thought-provoking masterpiece that continuedThe Cabin In The Woods' mission to turn the horror landscape of the 2010s on its head.

Zombielandmight be more of a straight-up comedy thanThe Cabin In The Woodsthere isn't really anything within that could genuinely scare a viewerbut there is certainly a connection between the presentation of the two films. In the same way thatThe Cabin In The Woodswants its viewers to remember that this is nothing more than a film, the voice-over and dramatic editing of the 'rules' inZombielandmake sure the audience never takes anything too seriously.

Miseryis arguably the ultimate "cabin in the woods" style film.The filmrarely leaves the seclusion of thehousePaul Sheldon is confined to, filling viewers with claustrophobia and dread.

RELATED:The 10 Scariest Monsters In The Cabin In The Woods, Ranked

The Stephen King adaptation is a lot more serious in its presentation thatThe Cabin In The Woods, but, if it's a sense of creepy, desperate seclusion you're after, then this film could be the perfect follow-up.

Gremlinsis the ultimate satirical horror.Written by Chris Columbus, directed by Joe Dante and executive produced by Steven Speilberg, the film was star-studded. The sequel took things to a new level, replacing the black comedy of the original with a manically over-the-top sense ofsatire that anarchicallyreassessed the concept of horror films and sequels in general. Theapproach in this film undoubtedly inspired many elements ofThe Cabin In The Woods.

Bad Times At The El Royaleis just the second film ever made by Drew Goddard, made seven years afterThe Cabin In The Woods.It leaves horror-comedy behind, instead providing audiences with a unique take on the neo-noir thriller genre.

RELATED: The 10 Best 'Cabin In The Woods' Movies, Ranked (According To IMDb)

It was a disappointment at the box office and reviews were mixed, but there are definitely moments that can be picked up on that connect to the filmmaking style found inThe Cabin In The Woods.

TheScreamfranchise is often mixed up with the far more comedicScary Movieseries thanks to the presence of the Ghostface killer. However,Screamitself is remembered for its perfectly used satire of horror film tropes.When watchingThe Cabin In The Woods, the audience issupposed to know about horror tropes in order to get the most out of the film; inScream, the characters themselves are aware of the cliches they are being exposed to.

American Psychodoesn't come close to the level of horror created inThe Cabin In The Woods, but it does have a powerful sense of satire that melts into every line of dialogue, pushed forward by one of Christian Bale's best-ever performances. The risky ending makes itclear that pretty much everything the audience saw throughout the film was not as it seemed.

Scooby-Dooas a franchise is like the children's version ofThe Cabin In The Woods, with the live-action sequel arguably providing the biggest parallels. At its core, we have a group of stereotypical teensthe leader, the stoner, the nerd, and the confusedbut the two films also share the idea of bringing a variety of unconnected monsters into the same story with something deeper going on behind it all.

NEXT: 10 Crazy Facts Behind The Making Of Cabin In The Woods

Next 10 Sci-Fi Movie Universes That Make No Sense

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10 Things To Watch If You Like The Cabin In The Woods - Screen Rant

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Gary Vaynerchuk: TikTok has one big advantage over Facebook that you can exploit – CNBC

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As the U.S. and Chinese governments battle over the fate of TikTok, with tech giants including Microsoft vying to acquire the popular social media app, advertising guru Gary Vaynerchuk says small business owners also have a big TikTok opportunity to exploit.

"It's really hard to go on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook right now and have organic business growth, just set up an account and put stuff out," Vaynerchuk said at the CNBC Small Business Playbook: The Path Forward virtual event on Wednesday. "You have to be exceptionally talented in your creative or your personality to break through and you'll probably need six months to a year for it to happen," the CEO of VaynerMedia told CNBC's Julia Boorstin.

TikTok and LinkedIn which already is owned by Microsoft have the most organic reach, he said. "Those are two places you can post and not spend ad money and get customers. The other platforms become a question of, whom do I want to reach?"

Vaynerchuk said while the hyper-growth of TikTok has attracted the most attention, it is both LinkedIn and TikTok where "you can literally go on and be stunned by how many people see your stuff randomly. ... There's a lot of attention, and not as many ads or content creators on there right now."

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen.

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

But, the current opportunity to grow organically without a glut of content competitors won't last long.

"Quickly, that's changing on both platforms, especially TikTok," Vaynerchuk said.

As the platform gets more crowded, advertising on TikTok does make sense. "I'm a huge proponent of running ads on these platforms, because in comparison to direct mail, TV commercials, print ads, banners, you know, flying over a beach or outdoor media, or anything else one can do with money, I find them to be more efficient for their dollar, more localized, which matters to most of the small businesses right now," Vaynerchuk said.

The decision on where to advertise for a small business has to come back to knowing your customer, Vaynerchuk said. Every business needs to start by "reverse-engineering your customer, or the customer you're trying to get."

If you're selling to 55-year-old B2B decision makers, LinkedIn becomes the No. 1 social media platform for which a business needs to know how to create content and media. If you're trying to acquire 15 -to 25-year-olds, TikTok and Instagram matter a lot more.

"Step one is figure out who you're trying to target.And if it's stay-at-home moms, all of a sudden, Pinterest, all of a sudden Instagram ads, not just posting," he said.

Vaynerchuk said that his belief in the value offered by TikTok and LinkedIn does not imply Facebook's importance has diminished. In fact, he said Facebook and Instagramare offering advertisers rare value right now because of the boycott by large brands.

"Their media product or ad product is incredible and has the broadest collective reach. So if you're a big company within the small business space, that's always going to be a place you're going to want to be," he said. "The biggest opportunity for everybody right now, and it's kind of going to go away here pretty quickly, because Facebook is too important to the big businesses, but some of the prices went down ... because a lot of brands pulled out dollars and so I see hyper-under-priced opportunity on Facebook and Instagram."

Vaynerchuk described Roku and Hulu as also having "somewhat under-priced products."

The advertising that continues to be overpriced is in traditional markets.

"I spoke to my outdoor guy, who I know really well, and he's like, 'the prices are like discount by 10%,' and I'm like, 'there's nobody on the road.' Newspapers, I was curious, I reached out just to be educated in case a question like this was asked. No heavy discount. It fascinates me how the traditional landscape doesn't adjust to the reality of the marketplace. This is why digital continues to eat up market share," Vaynerchuk said.

The social media expert said making content work on Facebook requires a lot more work than just paying for ads. He said too many small business owners say Facebook doesn't work after running a few ads.

"Facebook ads work. The question is: Are you good at it? And I think that people blame platforms for their inability to be good at targeting ads or doing good creative. The No. 1 mistake I see is people giving up on a platform because they did not have a successful campaign and that was their fault. It was not the opportunity," Vaynerchuk said. "You have to practice. I am blown away by how many people refuse to put in the 10 hours of learning to save their business. ... You know it. It's your business, you're trying to save it."

He explained that Facebook is about zip codes and targeting: "If you're a pizza shop owner, and you want to rev up your deliveries, or if you have a dog grooming business, or if you cut hair and you're willing to go to people's homes or want them to come in, you basically target the one-, five-, 10 mile-radius of your location."

Vaynerchuk said it's always a good time to spend more wisely, and that of course includes during an economic crisis that is forcing business owners to rethink their existing approach to the market. Business owners should not overspend on a single video, but they also should not give up too soon if they don't see immediate results from the investment.

"Spend only $25 ins ad, $100 in ads, against a single video, and if you don't like what you are seeing, then you go and make some more. Sometimes people give up too early. Change up the copy that supports the video, or picture. Its test and learn, test and learn, test and learn, test and learn. You have to get good at it," Vaynerchuk said.

He added that self-awareness knowing if you are the one who should be on camera, if you are comfortable with it is key to creating content that will resonate, and while video will perform better than pictures, video won't perform well if the personality is not comfortable in the format.

Too many people are selling, selling, selling, and it's an infomercial, not a piece of content that inspires somebody to consider you.

Gary Vaynerchuk

VaynerMedia CEO

Vaynerchuk said one of the advantages of online advertising is the ability to test multiple concepts and learn which work.

"Everybody here right now probably thinks there's eight reasons people should do business with their business. Well, make eight different ads ... and then see which one gets the best comments. And see which one gets the most phone calls. You can literally run an ad on Facebook that has a phone number and people press the number and call you and you're like, 'Oh, I'm getting the most calls from this one.' You can run an ad focused on better prices one week and better service the next. It's truly revolutionary. You're not wasting money if you're good at what you do, and if you really learn this craft," he said.

He said small businesses should not overthink their ads, either. Ads should be compassionate at a moment in time when the U.S. is dealing with Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. Ads should never be planned too far in advance because news events could quickly make the ads insensitive without any intention. And ads should never try to trick people. What's appropriate is to explain to customers what your business does: "'We cut hair, we sell pizza, we can take care of your dog, we can distract your child for four hours with our live sessions or consulting,' whatever it may be."

If you're good at your business, you've probably heard what people want. You know the truth about your business, your strengths, or your category like pizza shops. See what people are talking about, making it contextual and relevant. You know, make it about them, not you. Too many people are selling, selling, selling, and it's an infomercial, not a piece of content that inspires somebody to consider you. ... The question is, do you know how to make a good piece of video or picture to get somebody to be compelled to do business with you?"

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Gary Vaynerchuk: TikTok has one big advantage over Facebook that you can exploit - CNBC

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J Balvin had ‘bad’ coronavirus – Yahoo New Zealand News

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J. Balvin has been battling coronavirus.

The 'Mi Gente' singer has been through a "bad" period of ill health after contracting the virus and has only just started to feel better.

Speaking in Spanish in a video acceptance speech during the 2020 Premios Juventud event on Thursday (14.08.20), he said: "At this moment, I'm just getting better from COVID-19. These have been very difficult days, very complicated. Sometimes we won't think that we'll get it, but I got it and I got it bad."

And the 35-year-old star - who is currently in Colombia - has urged his fans to take the pandemic more seriously and take precautions to protect their health.

He added: "My message to those that follow me, young fans and people in general is to take care. This isn't a joke. The virus is real and it's dangerous."

The singer recently spoke about how meditation has helped to ease his battle with anxiety and depression and credits the practice as vital to his recovery.

He revealed: "There are many ways that I have dealt with my mental health. I have gone to see doctors. I have taken medication. These things are essential.

"But one other method that has meant everything to me - and is the reason I'm writing this - is meditation.

"Meditation, to me, can be one of the key first steps in achieving mental and spiritual well-being.

"Why? Because in many ways it is the most natural step. Meditation is about opening your mind to self awareness.

"It's about understanding that your mind isn't just an idea - it's a living, breathing thing, something that needs to be cared for and looked after. Meditation is the act of mental hygiene."

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J Balvin had 'bad' coronavirus - Yahoo New Zealand News

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Steve Martins greatest accomplishment? Making WASPs funny. – Forward

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Toward the end of the 1983 comedy The Man with Two Brains, Steve Martin, as Dr. Michael Hfuhruhurr, is blasted with a drumfire of ethnic slurs.

Learning that his sadistic wife, Dolores (Kathleen Turner), withheld the news of his grandmothers death, he reaches his breaking point and fights with her for the first time. During the screaming match, Dolores calls him, in a single breath, a string of epithets referring to Black people, Jews and Italians before he heaves her into a mud puddle. Its a ridiculous moment, even for a film about a neurosurgeon who falls in love with a disembodied brain, because none of those epithets apply to Martin or his character. Thats what makes the joke work, and what makes Martin who co-wrote the film with director Carl Reiner and George Gipe such a unique voice.

When Martin, who turns 75 on August 14, hit the comedy scene in the late 1960s as a writer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the atmosphere of TV comedy had acquired a fresh whiff of the old establishment. To speak more plainly: After years of domination by the likes of the Jewish, Bronx-born Sid Caesar and his cadre of coreligionist writers, the marquee names were WASPs. Acts like the Smotherses gained traction; on the East Coast, Johnny Carson drew eyes as the host of The Late Show, often booking Martin as a guest.

Yet as his career progressed, Martin, prematurely gray and Wonder-Bread-handsome, would find unprecedented inroads with TVs old Jewish guard, who had by then mostly flocked to film. His talent for ironic, earnest and borderline anti-comedic comedy offered something fresh to the old Borscht Belt-derived formula of the Chosen people. Martin, in a three-piece suit and bunny ears, was a Christian who wasnt the least bit ethnic, but also didnt play the straight man. His persona was of a fearless yet harmless lunatic shielded from self-awareness by dint of his backgrounds exalted place in America.

In the mid-1970s, Martin would prance around as an albino King Tut on Lorne Michaels newly-minted S.N.L. between stints as one half of the Festrunk Brothers Wild and Crazy Guys. After he put out a couple of hit comedy records and the odd novelty single, Carl Reiner seeing Martin as a combination of Dick Van Dykes profile and Mel Brooks mania gave him his first star turn in a feature film, directing a script from Martin that could only succeed with someone like Martin in the lead.

The Jerk (1979) has a premise that would raise eyebrows today. Navin R. Johnson (Martin), was born a poor Black child to a sharecropping family. On his birthday we dont know which, but its too late in life for what comes next he digs into his favorite meal of TaB, tuna fish salad on white bread with mayonnaise and two Twinkies in the presence of his loving Black family. After an emotional exchange of gifts, Navin, who is, of course, white, learns that he was adopted. It shakes him to his core.

Navin leaves home to find himself, an effort that turns out to not be a huge cultural journey, as Twinkies and mayo are positioned as the full extent of white culture. While hes working at a gas station, a crazed gunman, who picks his name from the phone book as his next random victim bastard starts shooting at Navin as he minds the pumps. Somehow, the madman appears to know Navins origins, calling him a half-breed before firing in his direction one of the most bizarre instances of a hate crime in the history of film. Navin, never suspecting hes being targeted (remember, hes white) believes the shooter is trying to take out a row of oil cans.

He hates these cans! Navin screams in a show of white obliviousness while he runs through the filling station.

It goes without saying that this joke would not be nearly as funny if played by, say, Mel Brooks or Gene Wilder. It takes someone whose presence is not just tolerated, but accepted as foundational to America a WASPy-looking dude who was actually Baptist for the sequence to click. A white, presumably Christian guy hunting another white Christian guy while calling him milkface is patently bonkers.

The scene might scan as somewhat offensive, or just a classic gag in a movie full of them. But it was emblematic of the clarity with which Martin, who wrote The Jerk with Carl Gottlieb and Michael Elias, understood his place in American culture and what he had to offer to comedy. With his clean-cut establishment image, he burst on the scene doing awkward kiddy magic with the haughty presentation of a master who deserves applause. His mission, as a man whose pedigree was considered the default, was deconstructing that identitys comfort and surety by adopting a persona that seemed like it was always failing upward.

In Navin R. Johnson, he did that by creating a naif who glides with outstanding ease from fortune to failure and, ultimately, fortune once more. As the brash grifter Freddy Benson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988) he played a boorish American abroad humbled by a British mentor who degrades his unfounded confidence by making him play a series of demeaning parts. Playing scamming film producer Bobby Bowfinger in Bowfinger (1999), he skewered a particular kind of Hollywood wannabe of the Ed Wood variety a kind that succeeds by blind optimism, empty promises and a deluded belief in their so-called vision. In each, he bumbles, playing up his characters lack of understanding of his own absurdity and entitlement.

In the 90s, following Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyers epiphany that he would be the perfect man for the titular role in Father of the Bride, Martin started writing plays. His best-known effort, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, was an imagined meeting of the minds between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in the early 20th century. (A less-famous one-act, WASP, a florid evisceration of the repressed domestic life of Americas erstwhile ruling class, brought Martins derision for the mundane and the monocultural full circle.)

Through it all, Martin knew where he came from. Even as his career led to more commercial fare the Cheaper by the Dozen franchise or the Pink Panther reboot his genius for self-understanding never waned. Recently, hes cultivated his reputation as a polymath who does a little bit of everything, from bluegrass albums to Tony-nominated musicals. Our acceptance of all his roles, from the bonkers to the banal, speaks to the message hes been communicating all along: Any idiot can do whatever they want so long as hes the right kind of idiot. Luckily for us, unlike his characters, Martins the smart kind.

PJ Grisar is the Forwards culture reporter. He can be reached at

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Steve Martins greatest accomplishment? Making WASPs funny. - Forward

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DCCC to host virtual spoken word performance: Beacon of Hope – The Times of Chester County

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Delaware County Community College will host a virtual spoken word performance, followed by a question-and-answer session, by

Joseph Green

, an award-winning poet, motivational speaker, workshop facilitator, professional storyteller and person in long-term recovery.

Beacon of Hope is the title of Greens spoken word virtual performance, which is open to the public and will be held at 4:30 p.m., Thursday, August 27 on Zoom. Visit to register and receive instructions on how to attend. To participate, please register by no later than August 26.

With a background in theatre, performance poetry and social justice education, Green seamlessly intertwines storytelling and spoken word poetry into his presentations and workshops. He inspires his audiences to join him on a journey, which uplifts the core principles of self-care, self-awareness, diversity and inclusion. He also urges audiences to pay their blessings forward to make the world a better place for everyone; and he believes in the innate ability of story to connect people to their higher purpose and to one another.

Over the past 15 years, Green has created and facilitated thousands of workshops with youth, educators, health care professionals, realtors and nonprofit organizations. His workshops focus on implementing effective youth development strategies, diversity and inclusion, creative mindfulness, and personal and professional burnout prevention.

Greens life story and work have been featured in Youth Today, an internationally distributed digital media publication read by professionals in the youth services field; UpWorthy, a website devoted to positive storytelling; and PBS NewsHour. He has been keynote speaker and/or presenter at: the University of Baltimore; the 2017 American Society of Addiction Medicine; Talks at Google, an internal talks series, hosted by Google in which authors, scientists, actors and notable others discuss their work; the 2016 and 2018 California Statewide Conference on Substance Use Disorder; the 2017 Utah Fall Substance Abuse Conference; and the Wisconsin Voices for Recovery Rally for Recovery.

After co-founding the nonprofit, Poetry NOW, an after-school poetry program in Virginia, Green merged his organization with Split This Rock, a Washington, D.C.-based poetry and social justice organization, where, for three years, Green served as director of youth programs. In 2017, he started LMSvoice, an organization dedicated to helping people and socially conscious organizations discover and share the transformative power of story (See

Greens spoken word performance at Delaware County Community College is made possible by a grant from the PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, which helps the College create a variety of initiatives to educate, inform and support students, faculty, staff and the community about how to address the U.S. opioid epidemic.

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DCCC to host virtual spoken word performance: Beacon of Hope - The Times of Chester County

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