By Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
Think back to the early days of “moving pictures,” before sound was developed to accompany the film. If you watch documentaries about the subject, you know piano players were hired to be in theaters to play music at the appropriate times during the film. This enhanced the acting that was on screen and let the audience know when they should feel happy or nervous about what was being portrayed on film. Fast forward to the 21st century and music is still an integral part of watching a film, in a theater or at home.
We had the pleasure of attending a special event held at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The evening began with a program entitled Common Language: The Art of Composing for Film. It was an evening of film clips and conversation with creative collaborator Carter Burwell, (composer of True Grit, Where the Wild Things Are, and the extremely successful Twilight Trilogy, etc.) and filmmaker Michael Almereyda (Paradise, Hamlet, Nadja).
The evening began with a greeting by Raj Roy, Chief Curator of MOMA’s film department. The audience viewed clips of films and then Burwell discussed how he composed the music in addition to the story behind several of the scores. The tales were as stirring as his music as Burwell described the process he went through to find the right music to accompany such films as Raising Arizona and Fargo, among his vast array of commercial hits.
For True Grit, he had a year before the film was made and decided not to go with a typical western soundtrack. The plot line of the film was from a fourteen-year old girl’s point of view as she talked about avenging her father’s murder. Her narrative bore many passages that were biblical or used “church language” and so Burwell scored music that was in the same genre as church hymns.
In Twilight, the teen vampire series, a compelling love song melody was requested by the filmmakers, so Burwell used a song he wrote when he was courting a girl in his dating days. Bella’s Lullaby was thus created and Burwell was amazed about how much interest this music has been generated by bloggers. “By the way,” Burwell related, “that girl from his dating days is now his wife.”
These and other stories filled the evening with the behind-the-scenes look at the process of inserting music into films. It was a forceful insight into the world of music that stirs, compels and puts us on the edge of our seats in the darkened movie theater.
Simple ways to begin your morning
(Family Features) Ready, set, go. Just as you would set off at the starting line of a race, this hectic pace is how mornings begin for many men and women.
Instead of waking with dread to face another hectic morning, consider these tips for a healthier way to ease into your daily rituals. While these activities may require you to allow extra time, you may be pleased with the productive results.
Meditate. A practice that has been around for thousands of years may still be one of the best stress busters for hurried mornings. To start, find a place in your home that is free of noise and distraction. Practice sitting still, with eyes closed, and focus only on your breathing. Using deep, controlled breaths, try to steer your thoughts away from negative and stress-inducing thoughts.
Stretch. While the most health-conscious person may opt for a morning sweat-a-thon, working in some stretches can also be beneficial. When you awake, think about oft-used muscles and extend each one for 15-30 seconds.
Activate. Give your brain some fuel in the morning while also doing something nice for your mind. For example, journaling is a gentle way to ease into your morning and get your brain firing. If you can’t think of a topic, simply write down a few affirmations for the day, revisit a pleasant memory from your past or scribble down a goal for the week. Journaling can be an uplifting way to engage the mind and express gratitude for the day ahead.
Find more tips for starting your day on the right foot at eLivingToday.com.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
(Family Features) Whether you’re a casual exerciser, a professional athlete or just looking for a nutritious breakfast, kick off your day with protein-packed recipes.
As an expert in the nutritional needs of professional athletes, Megan Chacosky, chef and registered dietitian for the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team, stresses the importance of protein in any fitness enthusiast’s diet. Protein helps build, maintain and repair muscles while increasing energy and endurance, which can help strengthen the body and avoid injuries. Adding a protein beverage like Rockin’ Protein, made from fresh Shamrock Farms milk with up to 30 grams of protein per serving, into healthy breakfast recipes is one way to increase the protein level and nutritional benefits of your breakfast.
These recipes are quick to prep for grab-and-go mornings to start your day with proper nutrition. To learn more, visit rockinprotein.com.
1 bottle (12 ounces) Chocolate Rockin’ Protein Builder
12 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup oil
2 cups roasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Heat oven to 325 F.
In large bowl, combine protein builder, rolled oats, maple syrup, oil, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds; mix until oats, hazelnuts and seeds are coated. On baking sheet, spread granola in thin layers and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.
Cool completely then sprinkle in chocolate chips and serve with yogurt, on smoothie bowl or as cereal.
Nutritional information per serving: 295 calories; 32 g carbohydrates; 7.5 g protein; 16 g fat; 6 g sugar.
Blueberry Cornbread Muffins
Servings: 12 muffins
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup Vanilla Rockin’ Protein Builder
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lemon, juiced
Heat oven to 400 F. Line muffin tin with 12 paper or foil muffin liners and set aside.
In medium bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; once mixed, toss in blueberries to coat.
In separate bowl, combine egg, protein builder, oil and lemon juice. Pour liquid ingredients into dry mix and stir until just combined. Divide into lined muffin tins and bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.
Nutritional information per serving: 245 calories; 25 g carbohydrates; 5 g protein; 15 g fat; 6 g sugar.
By Frank J. Rich
Most of us face competition. Even those who work in the “not-for-profit” world compete for resources. In fact, competition may be defined as the alternative use of the same resources. That is, the solutions to problems are usually found by the application of these resources, whether by the purchase of a standard product or one that is made to serve its purpose. It’s the old hammer and screwdriver model. When we don’t have a hammer, a screwdriver will do.
In many open markets, most goods and services can be purchased from any number of companies, giving customers a wide variety from which to choose. It’s the work of companies in the market to find their competitive edge and to meet customers’ needs better than their competitors. So, how can one company gain competitive advantage over the others? Whether there are few or many like products and services in the chosen marketplace, how do different organizations sell basically the same things at different prices and with different degrees of success? It is a classic question, and one addressed by many over the years. Among them is Michael Porter, business professor at Harvard University, and market student. In his original work, “Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors,” he summarizes competition into three classic strategies:
These three generic strategies outline the ways organizations provide their customers with what they want at a better price or more effectively than others. Essentially, Porter maintained that companies compete either on price (cost), on perceived value (differentiation), or by focusing on a very specific customer (market segmentation).
Competing on lower prices or by offering more perceived value became very popular (as competitive advantages) for simple reasons. Price is ever present in the mind of the consumer and easily confused with value. If the analysis of value becomes too arduous, many “sellers” of product and service revert to price as the distinguisher to attract customers. Ultimately, price becomes the value proposition.
For many, however, the detail in the choice among the three strategies revealed opportunity. Thus, tools were developed to assist the analysis of competitive advantage. In developing Bowman’s Strategy Clock, Cliff Bowman and David Faulkner looked at Porter’s strategies in a different way.
In 1996, this led to the development of Bowman’s Strategy Clock. As with Porter’s generic strategies, Bowman considers competitive advantage in relation to cost advantage or differentiation advantage. This model of corporate strategy is another suitable way to analyze a company’s competitive position in comparison to others’ offerings. There are six core strategic options, eight in total:
Bowman’s Strategy Clock
The Strategy Clock is adapted from the work of Cliff Bowman
As an exercise, place the following product/services in their likely categories onto the Strategy Clock. Add your own as you get the hang of it.
The idea is to find out where your product/service rests in the Strategy Clock to determine either your competitiveness or the opportunity to improve it. Products in the high price/low value segment (6-8) are likely to fail. Most brands don’t make money and consequently, company portfolios are replete with loss-making and marginally profitable brands. This occurs because companies too often see core competencies as far as their product definitions reveal, and not as far as the skills necessary to making a market for them. Knee jerk reaction to competitive entries is also at the root of much product formation.
The opportunity in competitive analysis is to capture a clearer picture of the brand strength — either actual or expected. Once identified, the work necessary to effective positioning can begin. As is always the case, if you don’t do your own positioning your competitor will do it (to you).
(Family Features) With people across the country observing Lent, a religious tradition observed during the 40 days before Easter, it’s time to rethink the standard family meal menu.
This nearly eight-week period typically calls for a special diet. Specifically, red meat is cut out on Fridays for some and for the entirety of Lent for others. According to Datassential, 26 percent of consumers observe lent and of those, 41 percent said they eat fish on Fridays instead of meat.
Eating two servings of seafood per week – as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans – is one way to make a positive commitment to you and your family’s health during Lent and throughout the year. According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, research shows eating seafood 2-3 times per week reduces the risk of death from any health-related cause. Seafood also provides unique health benefits as a lean protein and is a quality source for omega-3 fatty acids, which are healthy fats essential to human health and development.
With so many seafood options available, including Alaskan cod, snapper, salmon and more, it can be easy to incorporate this nutritious lean protein into your diet.
This simple recipe for Blackened Catfish with Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette can help you on your way to a more nutritious meal plan that includes consuming seafood twice per week. If you can’t find catfish or prefer to substitute, any white fish such as cod, mahimahi or flounder will work.
For more seafood recipes and Lenten meal inspiration, visit seafoodnutrition.org or follow #Seafood2xWk on social media.
Blackened Catfish with Quinoa and Citrus Vinaigrette
Recipe courtesy of chef Tim Hughes on behalf of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 cup corn, canned and drained or frozen and thawed to room temperature
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
1/2 cup edamame, shelled and thawed to room temperature
3 cups quinoa, cooked
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound catfish, cut into four fillets
5 tablespoons Blackening Seasoning
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
To make Blackening Seasoning: Combine salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and thyme.
To make Quinoa Salad: Heat and oil skillet. Add corn; salt and pepper, to taste, and saute until golden brown. Add edamame and sauteed corn to quinoa and set aside.
To make Blackened Catfish: Heat cast-iron skillet to medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon peanut oil added. Coat both sides of catfish fillets with Blackening Seasoning. Add catfish to skillet and cook 5-6 minutes per side, or until well done.
To make Citrus Vinaigrette: Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, honey and thyme. Slowly add olive oil, whisking until dressing is formed.
Serve Blackened Catfish on top of Quinoa Salad and drizzle with Citrus Vinaigrette.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images