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Film Festival for Movie Buffs Coming!

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel




If you love films and discussions about them, here is the perfect film festival for a weekend getaway on the East End of Long Island. The Hampton International Film Festival’s (HIFF) 26th annual event runs over the Columbus day weekend (October 4-8, 2018). What is this event? HIFF was founded to celebrate the Independent film – long, short, fiction and documentary, and to introduce a unique, varied spectrum of international films and filmmakers to the public. The Festival is committed to exhibiting films that express fresh voices and differing global perspectives, with the hope that these programs will enlighten audiences, provide invaluable exposure for filmmakers and present inspired entertainment for all.

Ardent followers and movie buffs will once again be treated to outstanding films, the chance to see many of the celebrities appearing or directing in them, and the opportunity to attend workshops, lectures and seminars that delve into the world of film making. Over the years the selection committee that accepts films to this prestigious film festival has chosen many that have gone on to become both critically acclaimed and/or commercial successes. Some of the most successful films from the long list include The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, Black Swan, Toy Story 3, Waiting for Superman, Blue Valentine, Made in Dagenham, Miral, Slum Dog Millionaire, and The Artist. Documentaries, shorts and international films are also part of these richly diverse selections which are offered along with special programs such as its “Conversation with…,” the annual Kodak Cinematography Master Class, Breakthrough Performers, Animation Master Class, as well as the attendance of notable talent.

Opening Night Film

Writer/Director Sara Colangelo’s The Kindergarten Teacher will be the Opening Night Film on Thursday October 4th. The film stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Parker Sevak, Rosa Salazar, and Gael García Bernal. It tells the story of a kindergarten teacher who seeks to cultivate the poetic talents of one of her students with questionable methods. Maggie Gyllenhaal and Colangelo will both be in attendance at the festival.

With over 100 films offered by HIFF the list is certainly extensive and diverse with enough choices to entice viewers of all ages and tastes. “We are elated to kick off our 26th edition of the festival with a film from one of our Screenwriters Lab alumna and to also announce an eclectic and intriguing first group of films with narratives and themes that are sure to resonate with our audiences,” said David Nugent, Artistic Director of HIFF. “To be able to include so many completed feature films from our prestigious Screenwriters Lab is truly a dream come true, especially for our opening night,” said Anne Chaisson, Executive Director of HIFF. “For eighteen years our lab has mentored over 75 screenwriters, and these three films from female directors offer diverse perspectives and have all garnered critical acclaim this year.”


For more about HIFF visit:


September 26, 2018 |

Fall for a Flavorful Cheese Board


In Good Taste








(Family Features) Some of the most beloved flavors are inspired during the fall, and there are few better ways to enjoy the season’s best than with a group of friends and family. Get ready to wow guests with seasonal treats that invite everyone to indulge in fall flavors.

Even adults can enjoy getting hands-on with their food when it comes to stacking up mouth-watering ingredients, and a fall party is a great opportunity to explore new ways to appreciate the flavor of savory pumpkin.

This recipe combines rich, creamy cheese with prosciutto and pumpkin for a medley of flavors and textures your guests will have a hard time believing are gluten-free. The star is non-GMO Crunchmaster Pumpkin Harvest Crackers, which combine real pumpkin and autumn spices with whole grains and flax seeds.

Serve these little delights on a cheese board and let guests mix and match the flavors as they wish. Then expand your offering with a dairy-free, vegan alternative and introduce another fall favorite like apple butter.

Explore more tips and recipes to help celebrate fall at

Pumpkin Prosciutto Stackers

2          ounces prosciutto

1          ounce aged balsamic vinegar (syrupy consistency)

4          ounces gorgonzola

4          ounces aged Parmesan, shaved

1          bag Crunchmaster Pumpkin Harvest Crackers

Cut prosciutto into cracker-size pieces, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Pour vinegar into small carafe or dish with serving spoon.

Layer gorgonzola, 1-2 pieces prosciutto and 1-2 pieces shaved Parmesan on one cracker. Drizzle lightly with vinegar. Place on wooden or slate serving platter to serve as inspiration to guests. Plate remaining prosciutto, gorgonzola, Parmesan and crackers on platter before serving and place vinegar nearby.

Apple Pepita Stackers

4          ounces apple butter

1          bag Crunchmaster Pumpkin Harvest Crackers

3          ounces toasted pepitas

12        slivers fresh sage

Spread apple butter over one cracker and sprinkle with pinch of pepitas. Top with sage sliver.

For serving, scoop apple butter into small crock or serving vessel. Place pepitas and sage in serving dishes. Place assembled stacker on platter with crackers. Add serving dishes, if space allows, or position around platter.

September 26, 2018 |

Beyond Your Mean!


ROI by Frank J. Rich







By Frank J. Rich



Few of us would accept that we are average, even though in polite company we might incline the lesser state. The linguistic artifice costs us little. But less is no achievement for most, so when our “roles” performance is at issue—worker, parent, friend, sibling—“average” is anything but how we wish to be seen. In fact, our tender psyche relies so heavily on the self-image—how we think others think we see ourselves—that less in the eyes of others often brings out the defensive in us.

Here, we are not talking about the “meaning” in the turn-of-phrase that ends in “s,” as in living beyond your means. That is mere “Kentucky Windage” in the aim to consider the “pitch” in our approach to the workplace and its essential role in performance improvement. Here, pitch is defined as the level of intensity, or the highness or lowness of something. In this vein, “mean,” the measure of value in a set or collection of elements classed together, is manifest in how we dispatch ourselves in the workplace. Simply, we are propelled in a sense, by the heart, mind, body, and soul in our work, and by this “set” of elements form the model of achievement that is uniquely ours.

The heart in our effort is more commonly our attitude, that element of intangible behavior that either tilts us forward or holds us back. We are most often considered for our skills, even evaluated for advancement based on “what” we can do. But what we know compared to what we do not know is so wide a gap that the measure of the latter surrounds us. Skills matter, but attitude—good and bad—is the primary reason for performance success. We might tolerate a poor attitude in some, in favor of unusual skills in them, but we seldom choose to align ourselves with them. Given the choice between the dour and the dirigible that floats on air, we seek the latter.

The mind in the holistic view is the element that enables a person to be aware of the world and his experiences, to think, and to feel, the faculty of consciousness and thought. When used more fully it goes beyond the mere intellect that facilitates learning. It is a rainbow spectrum of awareness that can manage both the simplest of things and the complex as easily. It is less the “shift register” in a computer, that stores data for rationalizing at each clock cycle; it is rather the determiner of all function, the thinking and doing planner that causes things to happen.

The body is bidder of all things. It is the toolbox at our disposal. We conceive an action in the mind, prepare our emotional and mental state in the heart, and set the body to work. It moves us from place to place, drives the car; it picks and places things, and even works to recondition itself for those who put it to exercise. It can take the form of love or war, revealing passion and vehemence. Without the “body” we might only think and feel, but never touch, taste, hear, or see color.

The soul in the context of the workplace is the purpose in our effort, as tied to our identity. We may think our purpose in words and images, and craft our identity in some measure of performance, but combined they present the meaning in what we do. The soul in our work drives us to fulfillment, that highest of needs that is the end in all endeavors. Our contributions are made ready by heart, mind, and body, but it is the soul in our work that uniquely qualifies us.

If I have your attention after this brief journey through the “looking glass” may I ask you the question above? Are you working “beyond your mean”? And, if not, why not?

The workplace is assumedly competitive, even more so today. How then might one distinguish himself among eager others? It may be that we only do what we know how to do. The sound of it is a death knell to achievement. Clearly, we must go beyond our “mean,” that average performance that makes lemmings of us too easily. But without the collective movement of our faculties we are fated to crawl while others dance. Somehow, we must find it in ourselves to go beyond our education, where in the words of Albert Einstein “learning begins.”

The heart, mind, body, and soul may be a good place to start. It slows the spirit and concentrates our efforts on real work, progress. In the end, we’ll have avoided Alice’s dilemma, having moved so fast only to find ourselves in the same place.


September 20, 2018 |

Fall Into a Fitness Routine


To Your Health









(Family Features) Fall is notorious for comfort foods like pumpkin spice lattes and game day nachos. Combine these tempting seasonal staples with darker, shorter days and it can be hard to maintain an active mindset. Despite the enticement to indulge, you can keep your active lifestyle going or even kick off a new fitness regime.

This year, take advantage of the winds of change when the seasons switch and commit to smart habits for a healthy fall.

Dress for success. As the temperatures drop, you may be tempted to bundle up before heading outdoors to exercise, and for your warm-up and cool-down period, that’s not a bad idea. However, while you’re in the midst of your workout, it’s easy to get overheated. Wear layers that you can shed as you begin to sweat and consider moisture-wicking materials that can prevent sweaty clothes from getting cold in the breeze.

Stay hydrated. You may not feel as thirsty when you exercise in cooler weather, but it’s just as important to keep your body well hydrated. When you sweat, you lose more than just water. An option like Propel Electrolyte Water helps you replace what’s lost in sweat through its key electrolyte – sodium – and supports hydration by stimulating thirst and aiding in fluid balance. With the same level of electrolytes as Gatorade, zero calories and no sugar, it can be a perfect choice to support your active lifestyle. Learn more at

Opt for early workouts. When dark comes early, it can trick your mind into thinking it’s time to wind down for the night. Avoid that motivation pitfall by planning your workout earlier in the day, such as first thing in the morning or during your lunch break. If early mornings are daunting, remember that it won’t take long to shift your sleep schedule and early exercise is a caffeine-free way to put some energy into your day.

Find exercises you enjoy. Forcing yourself through exercises you despise will only backfire in the long run. If you’re not a runner, look for other ways to get your cardio pumping. Interval walking with varied paces and elevation can be an effective alternative or look at ideas like kickboxing or aerobics that you can have fun with while working up a sweat.

Indulge in moderation. Virtually every expert agrees that an occasional indulgence is perfectly acceptable, but use caution when the fall goodies start tempting. Those warm, rich desserts and drinks are filled with empty calories that can make all your hard work go to waste.

Set realistic goals. Having a long-term goal is a good idea, but be sure to set attainable expectations for yourself, including some milestones you can celebrate along the way to keep your motivation strong. Be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to fitness with your other life demands so you can set your goals accordingly.

Don’t skimp on skin care. The sun may not be as hot, but if you’re exercising outdoors, you’re still at risk for sunburn. Protect any exposed skin with sunscreen before working out.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

September 19, 2018 |

Sweet, Simple After-School Snacking


In Good Taste








(Family Features) With school back in full swing, the days will be full, packed with classes, homework and after-school sports, music and other extracurricular activities. To make the most of all these endeavors, it’s important to eat well to sustain the critical energy and focus required throughout the day.

Smart fueling includes keeping nourishing snacks such as heart-healthy grapes on-hand – whether at home, in the car or coming off the field. Fresh California grapes – simple, convenient and nutritious – can make for a delicious snack on their own.

Available in three appealing colors – red, green and black – crisp, juicy grapes can add a tasty touch when hunger calls for an afternoon energy boost. Grapes also pair well with crackers, cheese and nuts for other snack combos.

Yet another way to enjoy fresh grapes is to blend them with other fruits and vegetables to create smoothie bowls, a nutritious option to help ensure that a variety of healthy ingredients are part of a balanced day.

Smoothie bowls work well as a snack or even a quick breakfast, and also provide a way for parents to introduce their kids to new, healthier bites.

This Grape Smoothie Bowl is fresh, flavorful and full of sweet grape taste for a quick fix that can leave bodies fueled and ready to take on the rest of the day.

Find more information and snack ideas at

Grape Smoothie Bowl

Prep time: 10 minutes

Servings: 2

1/2        avocado

2           medium bananas, sliced and frozen

1           cup packed baby spinach

2           cups green California grapes, divided

1           cup unsweetened almond milk

1           piece fresh ginger (1-inch length), peeled and sliced (optional)

pinch of salt

1           tablespoon chia seeds

1 1/2     tablespoons toasted coconut chip


In blender, combine avocado, bananas, spinach, 1 cup grapes, almond milk, ginger and salt; blend until smooth. Pour into two bowls. Halve remaining grapes and place on top of smoothie bowls along with chia seeds and coconut chips.

Nutritional information per serving: 370 calories; 5 g protein; 66 g carbohydrates; 13 g fat (32% calories from fat); 3.5 g saturated fat (9% calories from saturated fat); 200 mg sodium; 10 g fiber.

September 19, 2018 |

Old Fashioned Words Rarely Heard Now

Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat







By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel



As technology propels us into a realm of words and expressions we’ve never imagined, some words have quickly faded from use. I’m sure many teens of today will not even know what some of these words meant or what the items are used for in everyday life.

Just the other day a Donna Summer’s song came on the radio that had the line “dim all the lights and put your old victrola on” as one of the stanzas. I am positive this word would most likely be a mystery to most people 40 and under. This invention was a phonograph from the Victor Talking Machine Company in New Jersey, but eventually the word became the generic term for any brand of phonograph back in the day. My grandmother had one, and I remember as a child that the turntable was powered by winding up with a handle that made the springs move. She stood by to make sure I didn’t “overwind.”

Two other words that took on names from the real product were Thermos for a vacuum bottle and Jell-O for any brand of gelatin. These were very popular products back in the 1950s.

Lost Vocabulary

Who remembers wearing galoshes when it was raining? How did you put them on yourself or when dressing your children? To make it easier to slide your shoes inside your galoshes we put used Wonder Bread bags over each shoe. Imagine the schoolteachers who had to direct this same process at the end of the day when it was dismissal time.

How about when it was time to bake a cake and the recipe called for beating two or three eggs to pour into the batter? That’s when an eggbeater came in handy! Speaking of beaters, my grandmother had a carpet beater, made of wicker. It had a long handle and ornate bottom, shaped like a flower. She took the small area rug outside, hung it over the clothesline and then beat the rug so the dust would fly out. Speaking of clotheslines, some adults might think why use one when you can throw things in the dryer. There is nothing more refreshing than sheets and pillowcases hung out to dry in the sun. By the way, a snippet I read in the PennySaver stated that “Clothes dried outside do smell better because of a process called photolysis. What happens is that the sunlight breaks down compounds in the laundry that cause odor, such as perspiration and body oils.” Don’t forget to have a supply of wooden clothespins on hand, skipping the plastic ones, to really go back in time.

When it comes to gadgets, how many youngsters have used a rotary phone or even a typewriter with ribbon? Think about the heavy, first time Walkman portable audio player that everyone thought was the best invention ever! Now it’s long gone and obsolete.

Both vocabulary and the useful items we thought were so great move on at a rapid pace, yet in memory remain on the nostalgic list of days gone by.


September 19, 2018 |
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